Laurens wrote:I use Buddho sometimes if my mind is particularly unfocused. The issue I have is that the instructions tend to state "repeat untill no longer needed". I will use Buddho until the attention seems fixed on the breath but then when I drop it I go back to square one.
Does anyone with a bit more experience have any suggestions as to whether there are any signalling factors that suggest buddho is no longer needed? Do I just carry on until it fades away on its own or keep dropping it and picking it up until I dont need to pick it up again?
One of the most descriptive experiences of Buddho meditation can be found in the words of Ajahn Maha Boowa from The Path to Arahantship
"MY CHOICE WAS BUDDHO MEDITATION. From the moment I made my resolve, I kept my mind from straying from the repetition of buddho. From the moment I awoke in the morning until I slept at night, I forced myself to think only of buddho. At the same time, I ceased to be preoccupied with thoughts of progress and decline: If my meditation made progress, it would do so with buddho; if it declined, it would go down with buddho. In either case, buddho was my sole preoccupation. All other concerns were irrelevant.
Maintaining such single-minded concentration is not an easy task. I had to literally force my mind to remain entwined with buddho each and every moment without interruption. Regardless of whether I was seated in meditation, walking meditation or simply doing my daily chores, the word buddho resonated deeply within my mind at all times. By nature and temperament, I was always extremely resolute and uncompromising. This tendency worked to my advantage. In the end, I became so earnestly committed to the task that nothing could shake my resolve; no errant thought could separate the mind from buddho.
Working at this practice day after day, I always made certain that buddho resonated in close harmony with my present-moment awareness. Soon, I began to see the results of calm and concentration arise clearly within the citta, the mind’s essential knowing nature. At that stage, I began to see the very subtle and refined nature of the citta. The longer I internalized buddho, the more subtle the citta became, until eventually the subtlety of buddho and the subtlety of the citta melded into one another and became one and the same essence of knowing. I could not separate buddho from the citta’s subtle nature. Try as I might, I could not make the word buddho appear in my mind.
Through diligence and perseverance, buddho had become so closely unified with the citta that buddho itself no longer appeared within my awareness. The mind had become so calm and still, so profoundly subtle, that nothing, not even buddho, resonated there. This meditative state is analogous to the disappearance of the breath, as mentioned above.
When this took place, I felt bewildered. I had predicated my whole practice on holding steadfastly to buddho. Now that buddho was no longer apparent, where would I focus my attention? Up to this point, buddho had been my mainstay. Now it had disappeared. No matter how hard I tried to recover this focus, it was lost. I was in a quandary. All that remained then was the citta’s profoundly subtle knowing nature, a pure and simple awareness, bright and clear. There was nothing concrete within that awareness to latch on to.
I realized then that nothing invades the mind’s sphere of awareness when consciousness—its knowing presence—reaches such a profound and subtle condition. I was left with only one choice: With the loss of buddho, I had to focus my attention on the essential sense of awareness and knowing that was all-present and prominent at that moment. That consciousness had not disappeared; on the contrary, it was all-pervasive. All of the mindful awareness that had concentrated on the repetition of buddho was then firmly refocused on the very subtle knowing presence of the calm and converged citta. My attention remained firmly fixed on that subtle knowing essence until eventually its prominence began to fade, allowing my normal awareness to become reestablished.
As normal awareness returned, buddho manifested itself once more. So I immediately refocused my attention on the repetition of my meditation-word. Before long, my daily practice assumed a new rhythm: I concentrated intently on buddho until consciousness resolved into the clear, brilliant state of the mind’s essential knowing nature, remaining absorbed in that subtle knowing presence until normal awareness returned; and I then refocused with increased vigor on the repetition of buddho.
It was during this stage that I first gained a solid spiritual foundation in my meditation practice..."