Only doing concentration meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Digity
Posts: 1407
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Digity » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:31 pm

At this point in my practice I'm just focusing on concentration meditation. For the next 5 years my plan is to just practice concentration and not to do metta or any of the other meditations. My thinking is that it's better to throw myself completely into one practice and master it rather than spread myself around doing various meditations (jack of all trades), but never really mastering one. Also, at this point in my practice I feel drawn to concentration. I'm more inclined to do it than to do something like metta.

Do you see a problem with this approach?

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23045
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:42 pm

Digity wrote:At this point in my practice I'm just focusing on concentration meditation. For the next 5 years my plan is to just practice concentration and not to do metta or any of the other meditations. My thinking is that it's better to throw myself completely into one practice and master it rather than spread myself around doing various meditations (jack of all trades), but never really mastering one. Also, at this point in my practice I feel drawn to concentration. I'm more inclined to do it than to do something like metta.

Do you see a problem with this approach?
Get yourself a qualified, experienced teacher.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:44 pm

The only thing is metta can be a concentration practice. But, I second what tilt said: find a qualified teacher and best of luck to you!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1 ... 279&v=info
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

Digity
Posts: 1407
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Digity » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:54 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Get yourself a qualified, experienced teacher.
I would if I could find one in my area, but I've been unsuccessful in doing so.

My plan is just to go it alone. I have been able to get into concentrated states on my own. I think I can figure it out on my own. I find meditating in a community doesn't suit me that well. I'm more the solitary type.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by daverupa » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:11 pm

Digity wrote:At this point in my practice I'm just focusing on concentration meditation. For the next 5 years my plan is to just practice concentration and not to do metta or any of the other meditations.
No satipatthana? No daily effort at unremitting mindfulness? No guarded sense spheres?
My thinking is that it's better to throw myself completely into one practice and master it rather than spread myself around doing various meditations (jack of all trades), but never really mastering one. Also, at this point in my practice I feel drawn to concentration. I'm more inclined to do it than to do something like metta.
Notice, via the Sedaka Sutta in my signature, how satipatthana encompasses metta and, via anapanasati, how it also encompasses concentration.
Do you see a problem with this approach?
Sounds to me as though you think of practice as a seated meditation event one undergoes periodically, instead of seeing practice as a lifestyle of mindfulness that one then takes to the cushion in order to refine & perfect.

What I hear is a choice not to refine metta and not to perfect satipatthana in favor of "concentration meditation". So... what's that look like?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23045
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:18 pm

Digity wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Get yourself a qualified, experienced teacher.
I would if I could find one in my area, but I've been unsuccessful in doing so.

My plan is just to go it alone. I have been able to get into concentrated states on my own. I think I can figure it out on my own. I find meditating in a community doesn't suit me that well. I'm more the solitary type.
The danger is, of course, the walk down the garden path.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Digity
Posts: 1407
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Digity » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:00 pm

Sounds to me as though you think of practice as a seated meditation event one undergoes periodically, instead of seeing practice as a lifestyle of mindfulness that one then takes to the cushion in order to refine & perfect.

What I hear is a choice not to refine metta and not to perfect satipatthana in favor of "concentration meditation". So... what's that look like?
I was only addressing my sitting meditation in this post. I still plan to practice mindfulness throughout the day. If anything, it's more a natural habit at this point. Although, I do need to strengthen it. All I'm saying, is that when I do my daily sitting and walking meditation my plan was to focus mostly on developing concentration. I understand that meditation shouldn't be restricted to just formal practice that once we get off the cushion we need to continue being mindful throughout the day. That side of the practice is outside of the scope of this post. This post is just talking about the formal meditation and how I want to restrict my formal meditation to just concentration.

Digity
Posts: 1407
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Digity » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:01 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Digity wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Get yourself a qualified, experienced teacher.
I would if I could find one in my area, but I've been unsuccessful in doing so.

My plan is just to go it alone. I have been able to get into concentrated states on my own. I think I can figure it out on my own. I find meditating in a community doesn't suit me that well. I'm more the solitary type.
The danger is, of course, the walk down the garden path.
I understand that concern, but at this point I think my understanding of the teachings and discernment are good enough that I won't be greatly misled in the wrong direction. I understand that a good teacher would greatly expedite the process. Hopefully, I'll one day find such a teacher, but I'm not going to wait around for that to happen. I think good teachers are rare and I'm starting to think I may never find the right one for me.

befriend
Posts: 1385
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by befriend » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:24 pm

atleast ask a teacher before doing this, email someone from spirit rock or IMS or a monastery. i did alot of metta which is a concentration practice for 5 or more days a few hours a day. the day i stopped doing metta, my mind was flooded with craving i felt like a heroin addict. because concentration stills the mind and stills the defilements it suppresses the defilements then when you stop practicing concentration they all flood back with more intensity, its pretty scarey.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

culaavuso
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by culaavuso » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:52 pm

Digity wrote:This post is just talking about the formal meditation and how I want to restrict my formal meditation to just concentration.
It may be useful to consider that there is no need for an act of will for the mind to grow concentrated so long as the appropriate prerequisites are cultivated, which is an effort that occurs both when seated and not:
AN 11.2: Cetanākaraṇīya Sutta wrote: "For a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue, there is no need for an act of will, 'May freedom from remorse arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.

"For a person free from remorse, there is no need for an act of will, 'May joy arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that joy arises in a person free from remorse.

"For a joyful person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May rapture arise in me.' It is in the nature of things that rapture arises in a joyful person.

"For a rapturous person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my body be serene.' It is in the nature of things that a rapturous person grows serene in body.

"For a person serene in body, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I experience pleasure.' It is in the nature of things that a person serene in body experiences pleasure.

"For a person experiencing pleasure, there is no need for an act of will, 'May my mind grow concentrated.' It is in the nature of things that the mind of a person experiencing pleasure grows concentrated.
It may also be helpful to consider that metta is a method of developing concentration recommended in the suttas:
AN 8.63: Saṅkhittadesita Sutta wrote: "Then you should train yourself thus: 'Good-will, as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken.' That's how you should train yourself. When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with directed thought & evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & a modicum of evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & no evaluation, you should develop it accompanied by rapture... not accompanied by rapture... endowed with a sense of enjoyment; you should develop it endowed with equanimity.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by daverupa » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:05 pm

Digity wrote:That side of the practice is outside of the scope of this post. This post is just talking about the formal meditation and how I want to restrict my formal meditation to just concentration.
Okay.

What does "just concentration" look like?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6499
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:27 pm

Digity wrote:I understand that concern, but at this point I think my understanding of the teachings and discernment are good enough that I won't be greatly misled in the wrong direction.
Then why are you asking others to see if they see any problems with your proposed approach in the first place? Doesn't that belie the claim that your understanding and discernment is good enough? For if they were, why would you have doubts and air them publicly?

:thinking:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Ben » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:06 pm

Personally, I recommend that you follow a particular approach rather than go it alone. Attend a residential retreat that will assist you in integrating sila, samadhi and pānna in daily life as well as give you some depth of experience. Having done a residential retreat you should have access to a body of collective knowledge with applying that particular approach.
“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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

Digity
Posts: 1407
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Digity » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:16 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Digity wrote:I understand that concern, but at this point I think my understanding of the teachings and discernment are good enough that I won't be greatly misled in the wrong direction.
Then why are you asking others to see if they see any problems with your proposed approach in the first place? Doesn't that belie the claim that your understanding and discernment is good enough? For if they were, why would you have doubts and air them publicly?

:thinking:
I guess I meant that I think my discernment and understanding are good enough that I won't be mislead in any gross manner. I believe I have a good enough understanding of the teachings to navigate my ship generally in the correct direction. However, I think where I struggle is how to get the ship to the final destination in the most proficient manner. When it comes to that, I don't understand things as well. That's why a good teacher would be helpful in this respect. I admit that the approach I laid out here could be all wrong. My discernment and understanding isn't refined enough to understand if my approach is correct or not. That's why I'm asking for people's opinion.

I will put forth more effort to find a teacher and I hope someday I'll find that person. I would love to have someone who could help me navigate the waters. I do think I could use the assistance of a good teacher, but I also feel confident that if I practice alone I won't make a complete mess of things. For the past year or so I've been practicing alone mostly and I've been seeing benefits.

Digity
Posts: 1407
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Only doing concentration meditation

Post by Digity » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:23 pm

Ben wrote:Personally, I recommend that you follow a particular approach rather than go it alone. Attend a residential retreat that will assist you in integrating sila, samadhi and pānna in daily life as well as give you some depth of experience. Having done a residential retreat you should have access to a body of collective knowledge with applying that particular approach.
I've never done a residential retreat before, but this year I'm planning to do my first one. I signed up for one at the Insight Retreat Center, but I get the sense it's hard to get into those ones. Hopefully, I'll be selected and I'll get to go. Otherwise, I'll need to find one more locally.

There is a part of me that thinks that I can figure this stuff out on my own. I know that attitude can be dangerous. I agree with you that it's probably best to find a particular approach and follow it, but I do have a very independent attitude and it tells me "do it yourself", "go it alone". I think part of me enjoys the challenge of trying to figure it out on my own. However, I think if I found the right teacher my attitude would change and I would adopt their particular approach to the teachings, but I have yet to find such a teacher.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 32 guests