Advice Appreciated : ]

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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333
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Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by 333 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:24 am

I am practicing a technique I developed when I began meditation with no guidance as to how to go about it. I would like to ask dhammawheel about this technique; is it legitimate (did the buddha teach it - I think he did) , does anyone have a similar practice, etc.

Here it is: I view things/events/feelings/thoughts etc. as having arisen. For something to have arisen, it must have arose from somewhere, a platform where it dwells until rising. I practice entering the platform all of this arises from. The technique I use is to 'drop' or 'let fall' everything, because if something rises then to go back to where it came it must fall or drop back down. It is a bit akward to explain like this, here is an example. EG: a thought rises in the mind. from where did it come from? <- that is the gist of the practice. I view this platform that phenomena arises from as stillness, among other properties. It isn't easy to enter most of the time but I do enjoy the times when I can abide in the stillness. ''the platform from which phenomena arises from''. I am unsure if this is a used technique, I think the buddha's advice of meditation on emptiness may entail what I practice but I am 100% uncertain :smile:

Does anyone do this? Is it called something else? Is this a buddhist technique? Thanks for your answers and dn't be to hard on me, I have legitimate buddhist meditation practices as well :meditate:
To Avoid All Evil,
To Cultivate Only Good,
And To Purify One's Mind
This Is The Teaching Of All The Buddhas!
-Dhammapada 183

Reductor
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by Reductor » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:02 am

The elevation of stillness to some kind of foundational element makes it sound like some 'ground of being' sort of thing, which is not accepted withing theravada. Perhaps that is not how you actually see it, and instead this is a problem of words only.

The buddha instructed us to see things as conditioned by three things: lust, hate, and confusion (as to what is wholesome, or that this or that dhamma is constant when in fact there are no constant dhammas anywhere). Instead of thinking that stillness is the foundation of thought, dig deeper. Stillness is one kind of experience, thought is another, and both may be tainted with lust, hate, and confusion. Thought doesn't come out of stillness, nor does it return to stillness. To give stillness the status as 'foundation' is to stop short of the search/study that buddha taught. Instead, ask: "do I feel lust or strong approval for this stillness, for this thought, or for this sensation?" If yes, note this. "Do I feel hatred or strong approval for this stillness, for this thought, or for this sensation?" If yes, note that, too. Learn this aspect of experience, this conditioning of your very existence by lust, hate, and confusion. You'll then know what the buddha meant when he taught "there is suffering". And you'll have seen that the cause of suffering is craving.

PS: I've edited this a lot within the first few minutes of posting. It's a bad habit. But I've not changed the meaning of what I've written; only I've tried to clarify and make my post relevent to the OP.

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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by SarathW » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:21 am

To me it appears like this is the first or second stage Jhana in Samatha practice.
However you have to go a long way as Reducter said.
You have to practice Vipassana for awakening.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by Reductor » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:41 am

It maybe a deep stillness that OP is obtaining, but unless it is skillfully produced it is likely to be a hindrance in the long run.

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333
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by 333 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:55 am

it is indeed a problem of words, as I am not great at explaining subtleties...im not claiming to access the foundation of everything, but perhaps a foundation of certain phenomena. whereas there may be further foundations and further foundations reaching the foundation of nirvana. perhaps another person could give a response, as I am confident someone else who meditates will have at least experienced something similar and will be able to understand the subtlety I am failing at conveying...

in regards to your answer : 1st - when I said the platform is of stillness that is only a descriptive characteristic, instead of stillness itself being the 'experience' or 'foundation'. 2nd - you say stillness can be tainted, I disagree. The mind can be quickly tainted and barred of stillness, yet stillness itself is the same and right where it was before the mind was tainted.

law of dependent origination states : "when this is - that is. this arising - that arises. when this is not - that is not. this ceasing - that ceases.'' can any experts (I am not one) explain how this comes to be, where 'this arising' arises from? does 'this arising' rise from where 'that ceases'? Sure the law states that one thing coming about is dependent on another thing in existence, but this can't be held as infinite truth, seeing as - there was a beginning, from which a first action, a first 'this arising' arose. from where did this come abut and how? (I am only going into so much depth because I know you dhamma experts will grab hold of a hole and rip it apart. I want answers, not to be ridiculed.) I am not trying to cause disruption either I wuld very much appreciate someone to address the points made logically and lead to the outcome of either -wow, I was way off- or -okay, so I was onto something-. thanks guys/girls I love you all and I can't wait for the responses. :heart: :group:
To Avoid All Evil,
To Cultivate Only Good,
And To Purify One's Mind
This Is The Teaching Of All The Buddhas!
-Dhammapada 183

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Goofaholix
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:00 am

The way you describe it makes it sound like you are reifying the experience, but I'm not sure that is the case here's a metaphor, see if it illustrates what you are trying to describe.

It's like the mind is the sky, clouds arise and pass away but the sky remains, wind arises and passes away but the sky remains, rain arises and passes away but the sky remains.

It would be a mistake to assume that this silence, this awareness,this interconnectedness is somehow something tangible and permanent that everything arises from. It to is subject to impermanence, awareness is in a constant state of change, but this is one side of the coin as one can also observe the how it carries over from moment to moment like a glue or cohesiveness to your phenomenal experience.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

Reductor
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by Reductor » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:05 am

333 wrote:it is indeed a problem of words, as I am not great at explaining subtleties...im not claiming to access the foundation of everything, but perhaps a foundation of certain phenomena. whereas there may be further foundations and further foundations reaching the foundation of nirvana. perhaps another person could give a response, as I am confident someone else who meditates will have at least experienced something similar and will be able to understand the subtlety I am failing at conveying...

in regards to your answer : 1st - when I said the platform is of stillness that is only a descriptive characteristic, instead of stillness itself being the 'experience' or 'foundation'. 2nd - you say stillness can be tainted, I disagree. The mind can be quickly tainted and barred of stillness, yet stillness itself is the same and right where it was before the mind was tainted.
When you're not still, where is stillness?

I'm not trying to be enigmatic. It's a serious question.

Also, I don't know you whatsoever, so forgive me if I tell you things you already know. One thing should be born in mind by those of us practicing the buddha's dhamma: nibbana is defined by the buddha in the pali suttas as the cessation of lust, hate, and delusion. If a person's mind is totally free of these three things, they have obtained nibbana. Nibbana is defined by what is not present. For a person lacking these three things, certain actions, thoughts, etc will not arise.

I sense in your posts that you are eluding to something elemental that has the character of stillness. Doing that, it is possible to think that this thing is more real than other things, and thereby build a complicated set of views and attachments to those views (one of which is to take it as a form of permanent self - said to be a mistake by the buddha, as there is nothing that is permanent and worthy of calling 'self'). Complicated views and attachments are usually seen as obstacles in Theravada.

Now, to your method. It is similar to another method: anapanasati, or breath meditation. In breath meditation, you are mindful of your thoughts, feelings, etc. You direct your attention to the breathing sensations. When a thought of your lover, mother, neighbour, or favourite treat comes up, you direct your attention from that thought back to the breath. No blame in having those thoughts, but just a resloved turning of the attention back to the breath. In this way the thoughts dissipate and the breath becomes the principal object of attention. With sustained attention, the breath experience grows until is crowds out everything else. It's very nice.

You have a thought, in your method, and ask where it came from. You direct your attention to the stillness that you know follows the thought. Your attention is on the still moments between thoughts, and you direct your attention there every time it becomes busy with a thought. Before long, the thoughts slow, the moments of stillness increase. Eventually, the experience of stillness crowds out everything else.

When the buddha spoke of 'this is - that is' he meant, in part, that the mind works in a way that can be understood as cause, result. You turn your attention to the stillness, cause, and stillness becomes the focal point of your experience, result. If you direct your mind repeatedly to the breath, the breath becomes the minds focal point. You direct your mind to the pain someone caused you, the pain is your focal point. However you direct your mind, you mind become inclined that way. Direct your mind to hate, you'll hate habitually. Direct your mind to love, you'll love habitually.

law of dependent origination states : "when this is - that is. this arising - that arises. when this is not - that is not. this ceasing - that ceases.'' can any experts (I am not one) explain how this comes to be, where 'this arising' arises from? does 'this arising' rise from where 'that ceases'? Sure the law states that one thing coming about is dependent on another thing in existence, but this can't be held as infinite truth, seeing as - there was a beginning, from which a first action, a first 'this arising' arose. from where did this come abut and how? (I am only going into so much depth because I know you dhamma experts will grab hold of a hole and rip it apart. I want answers, not to be ridiculed.) I am not trying to cause disruption either I wuld very much appreciate someone to address the points made logically and lead to the outcome of either -wow, I was way off- or -okay, so I was onto something-. thanks guys/girls I love you all and I can't wait for the responses. :heart: :group:
The buddha said that there is no first cause that is discernible. He did not posit a big bang or creation moment for the universe nor for a being's cycle in samsara.

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srivijaya
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by srivijaya » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:47 am

333 wrote:I have legitimate buddhist meditation practices as well :meditate:
This one sounds legitimate too. You are aware of mental formations as they arise. In order to experience the stillness, you will have discovered 'no grasping'. The stillness is not there if our awareness takes ownership of these formations or enters into them. If they are dispassionately observed, they dissolve.

It's difficult to coin consensual terminology with reference to our internal mental landscape, as we are there alone and written definitions can inadvertently suggest things we don't mean to others, but if I read you correctly, it sounds fine.

The combination of awareness and stillness work together very well.

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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by SarathW » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:27 am

No all concentrations are Jhana.

Has Tiger Woods attain Jhana?

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... iger+Woods" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by dhammarelax » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:49 am

333 wrote:I am practicing a technique I developed when I began meditation with no guidance as to how to go about it. I would like to ask dhammawheel about this technique; is it legitimate (did the buddha teach it - I think he did) , does anyone have a similar practice, etc.

Here it is: I view things/events/feelings/thoughts etc. as having arisen. For something to have arisen, it must have arose from somewhere, a platform where it dwells until rising. I practice entering the platform all of this arises from. The technique I use is to 'drop' or 'let fall' everything, because if something rises then to go back to where it came it must fall or drop back down. It is a bit akward to explain like this, here is an example. EG: a thought rises in the mind. from where did it come from? <- that is the gist of the practice. I view this platform that phenomena arises from as stillness, among other properties. It isn't easy to enter most of the time but I do enjoy the times when I can abide in the stillness. ''the platform from which phenomena arises from''. I am unsure if this is a used technique, I think the buddha's advice of meditation on emptiness may entail what I practice but I am 100% uncertain :smile:

Does anyone do this? Is it called something else? Is this a buddhist technique? Thanks for your answers and dn't be to hard on me, I have legitimate buddhist meditation practices as well :meditate:
I dont do it but there are Sutta supports for something like this because the Buddhas asks us to understand how suffering arises, this how is the process of dependent origination, the emptiness method is used by the Buddha in a specific way, for example he talks of abiding in emptiness when having visitors wishing to let them go, or saying that when you are in the wilderness that is empty of the perceptions of the village, the other emptiness treated as something rather special with some ontological implications is as Thanissaro Bhikkhu puts it "a Chinese invention" and was not taught by the Buddha.

MN 10 offers an angle in to watching mental objects like thoughts but again in a specific perspective, in terms of the 5 hindrances the 7 factors of awakening the 4 noble truths the 6 sense bases and some other categories, but is not just a watch whatever arises, is watch mental objects from a certain perspective, this is crucial because it leads to insight, if you just watch things without the framework then there is no insight.

Do yourself a favor and try a few methods before committing to any. I tend to think that Buddhas teachings are like a key for a lock, with the right key the lock opens without problems, in other words is not just a matter of time or effort if you have the wrong key then at most you will break the lock.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

perkele
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by perkele » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:05 am

I think what you describe sounds roughly similar to what an Italian monk in the Tibetan tradition explained to us on my first vipassana retreat. Although amongst other things, I think that came at a later stage, after he had given us some other instructions for ten days quite similar to what they teach at Goenka centres. The programme was ten days vipassana, followed by ten days of "Mahamudra" (which is some kind of Tibetan thing). I don't have such a clear memory of it though. I ran away after the first ten days. :P

I think this "ground of being" settling kind of thing, just watching from where things arise in the mind and trying to trace back to the "source", that you describe is also quite like what I did naturally earlier in my life, long before I came to buddhism, and before I had done anything to mess up my life seriously. Whenever I had time.

Whatever you call it, it was certainly good way to watch and zoom into the chain reactions of mental experience. "Now this thought came up and things got disturbed.. wait and see it dissipate and dig deeper..." And to see the process of "from this ... to that" more subtler and subtler. While retaining this imaginary viewpoint: to find the "source".

I think it is good if possible to retain some explorative intuition of one's own.
Reductor wrote:PS: I've edited this a lot within the first few minutes of posting. It's a bad habit. But I've not changed the meaning of what I've written; only I've tried to clarify and make my post relevent to the OP.
Correcting/improving expression is not a bad habit, but rather good one.

Even though we can never convey our conscious experience by words. It is all metaphor and liable to misunderstanding. That is also something I thought about often when I was younger and still sane in my mind. And this often led to these "meditation sessions" as tentatively described above.

:rolleye:

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333
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by 333 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:37 pm

I thank you all for the insightful answers. I'm responding to only a few, but I appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to type your answer here. Your answers helped me to compile words in a better explanation : awareness without clinging of mental formations, and abiding in the space between these formations. <- Did the Buddha teach this? If so, could a kind soul comment the instance he did?

"The combination of awareness and stillness work very well together" - srivijaya
I agree. This is what I enjoy practicing. Once, quite a while back, I had the most pwerful meditation i've ever had. I've never gotten close to the state since. I was a complete amateur as well, no knowledge of techniques. As I came into awareness within stillness, and successfully abided within, I made the conscious effort to remove the awareness from the equation. This took me very deep indeed. I think that is the only time I have successfully removed 'self' or 'I' from existence.

SarathW: I don't think that the technique this post is about is a Jhana state. The instance I describe there ^^^ may have been. But I agree that Jhanas and higher states of consciousness can be a hindrance, as they are so pleasant that one who experiences one may easily become attached, clinging, and when the state is gone they may be caught in desire for it. Nibbana is described as the end of craving, so craving a jhana would be counterintuitive to the highest goal. I think jhanas should be enjoyed when experienced, but let go when they leave. Things come, things go, including a high state of consciousness.
To Avoid All Evil,
To Cultivate Only Good,
And To Purify One's Mind
This Is The Teaching Of All The Buddhas!
-Dhammapada 183

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by Ceisiwr » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:02 pm

Sounds similar to a meditation taught by Ajahn Sumedho called "the sound of silence"
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

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srivijaya
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by srivijaya » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:01 pm

333 wrote:awareness without clinging of mental formations, and abiding in the space between these formations. <- Did the Buddha teach this? If so, could a kind soul comment the instance he did?
Check this out:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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333
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Re: Advice Appreciated : ]

Post by 333 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:16 pm

thank you. :goodpost:
To Avoid All Evil,
To Cultivate Only Good,
And To Purify One's Mind
This Is The Teaching Of All The Buddhas!
-Dhammapada 183

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