Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

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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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:59 am

Javi wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:57 pm
If I could be so bold, can I ask what your opinion on the sabakaya issue is?
Well, I’d better be rather brief as my views on this aren’t going to shed any light on the OP's topic: "Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method".

I hold with the earliest explanation of the phrase sabbakāyappaṭisaṃvedī, which is that of the Paṭisambhidāmagga.
How is it that he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body?

Body: there are two bodies: the mental body and the material body.

What is the mental body? Feeling, perception, volition, contact, attention, and mentality are the mental body, and also what are called mind formations: these are the mental body.

What is the material body? The four great entities and the materiality derived by clinging from the four great entities, in-breath and out-breath and the sign for anchoring [mindfulness], and also what are called body formations: this is the material body.

Experiencing: for one who knows one-pointedness and non-distraction of mind through breathing in long, breathing out long, breathing in short, breathing out short, mindfulness is established. By means of that mindfulness and that knowledge those bodies are experienced.
Of modern approaches that are informed by the Paṭisambhidāmagga’s understanding, I’ve found most helpful that in chapter 4 of Ajahn Buddhadāsa’s Mindfulness with Breathing, the second of the ajahn’s two books on ānāpānassati.

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Chapter 4.pdf
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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:37 pm

Thanks! Yes I've found Buddhadasa's book to be quite eye opening on this sutta. Definitely requires careful study and integration into practice.

Tying this back to the topic a little bit, experiencing the whole body as taught by Thanissaro seems to be in line with this view of the 'all-body'. What I mean is, we are experiencing the entire phenomenal field of bodies when we scan the body Thanissaro style and spread "breath energy" to all the different parts. While his method seems to be particularly focused on the air element, it also has you sense all the different sensations in your body and how they are affected by breath energies, and thus would in theory include the four elements.

Thanissaro also often mentions that we should breathe in way that feels comfortably and pleasantly and gratifying and this would also include being aware of the 'mind body'.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Dmytro » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:43 pm

bodom wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:30 pm
Ajahn Lee is the one who taught this method.
Most probably Ajahn Lee studied with some masters of pre-reform Theravāda meditation system, borān kammaṭṭhāna.

This is evident in his counting method:
"The KMBL [Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub] version of the counting stage is different, in that the practitioner begins with an out-breath and counts from one to five during the exhalation. They then count ‘down’ from five to one during the following in-breath. These alternations of numerical sequence are designated anuloma and paṭiloma, forward and reverse, respectively, and their usage here re-establishes a pattern of performing ‘forward and reverse’ actions or sequences already familiar from the previous meditations in the cycle."

The Ancient Theravāda Meditation System, Borān Kammaṭṭhāna: Ānāpānasati or ‘Mindfulness of The Breath’ in Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub

Andrew Skilton, Phibul Choompolpaisal

The Ancient Theravāda Meditation System, Borān Kammaṭṭhāna: Ānāpānasati or ‘Mindfulness of The Breath’ in Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub

https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.p ... view/28172
and in his usage of certain set of spots in the body:
a. the tip of the nose,
b. the middle of the head,
c. the palate,
d. the base of the throat,
e. the breastbone (the tip of the sternum),
f. the navel (or a point just above it).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ml#method2
Interestingly, such usage can be traced back to Vimuttimagga:
To the yogin who attends to the incoming breath with mind that is cleansed of the nine lesser defilements the image [nimitta] arises with a pleasant feeling similar to that which is produced in the action of spinning cotton or silk cotton. Also, it is likened to the pleasant feeling produced by a breeze. Thus in breathing in and out, air touches the nose or the lip and causes the setting-up of air perception mindfulness. This does not depend on colour or form. This is called the image [nimitta]. If the yogin develops the image [nimitta] and increases it at the nose-tip, between the eyebrows, on the forehead or establishes it in several places, he feels as if his head were filled with air. Through increasing in this way his whole body is charged with bliss. This is called perfection.

https://archive.org/stream/ArahantUpato ... stablishes

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:11 pm

This tradition is reviewed in "Traditional Theravada Meditation and its Modern-Era Suppression" By Kate Crosby.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by bodom » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:11 pm

Yes I probably should have said made the technique popular. Thanks for that info Dmytro very interesting.

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To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

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With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Javi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:50 pm

From a review of the book "Traditional Theravada Meditation":
What, then, is borān kammaṭṭhāna as a form of meditation? At its simplest, as chapter three shows, it is an esoteric and somatic form of Theravada meditation, which takes substantially the same meditation subjects recommended by the Visuddhimagga but “internalises” them. Once the practitioner has achieved the nimitta (eidetic image) of each subject of meditation in turn, they mentally draw it through the nostrils into their own body, locating it at various energy centres in turn, and then deposit it in the womb
(garbha). The various nimittas are then combined in complex permutations which are
understood as constructing an internal Buddha as well as enabling the ability to affect
external reality. In this sense, of course, it is reminiscent of Indic tantra. Crosby shows,
however, that the terms used are derived specifically from Theravadin Abhidhamma, with no evidence of any previous underlay; Tantric deities are absent, as are the ritual reversals surrounding death, sex, food, and the like familiar from tantra.

Where, then, does this similarity derive from? Much of chapter three is devoted to
answering this question within the framework of an understanding of Buddhist practice as a “technology of transformation.” If borān kammaṭṭhāna is orthodox in a doctrinal sense, the conflict with other meditation schools revolves around the question of orthopraxy, and specifically the relationship between the lokuttara (supramundane), in modernity equated with the psyche and “science of the mind.” and the lokiya (mundane), now equated with the body and hence the subject either of legitimate Western science or of illegitimate magic. Crosby situates the underlying logics of the borān kammaṭṭhāna system in relation to ayurvedic medicine, but also Pāṇinian grammar, group theory mathematics, and alchemy. In premodern Southeast Asia, these acted as mutually reinforcing systems of knowledge (hence some of the similarities with tantra) and offered powerful cultural underpinnings for borān kammaṭṭhāna around the permutations of nimittas and the substitution of one thing for another. (Lest we be tempted to adopt the colonial assumption that Victorian science was obviously superior to Asian sciences in every area, Crosby notes that the products of the latter systems included the number zero, generative grammar and advanced plastic surgery.)

In particular, borān kammaṭṭhāna adopted imagery from ayurvedic obstetrics. As in other Buddhist contexts, embryology served as a model of transformation (146–147). In borān kammaṭṭhāna obstetrics becomes a “practical technology applied to a new, religious end”: an embryonic Buddha is developed in the practitioner’s “womb,” and medicine is applied nasally in order to manipulate the various factors conducing to (spiritual) health.
Interesting stuff, however, it seems that Thanissaro's approach is only partially related to this full system, having to do with the movement of the breath energies. And also if one reads his book With each and Every Breath he makes it very clear he is talking about the sensations one feels in the body and how these have to do with various processes of breathing - the lungs, the nerves, etc. So while one could argue that Lee's and Thanissaro's approach is influenced by this, they are clearly two different things.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by form » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:14 am

ToVincent wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:05 am
Javi wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:08 pm
Interestingly enough, there is actually a Ekottarika Agama text which describes this in more detail:

He completely observes the body (具觀身體), fully observing and knowing it from the head down to the feet (從頭至足皆當觀知)
I would not rely on such texts that have no parallel.
As I speak french, I just quickly read the translation on SC.

It also speaks about observing the hot and cold breath ?!?!?
How reliable?
This is parallel to DN description by the Buddha, the whole body is wrapped in white cloth........

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:54 pm

As I understand it, one reason borān kammaṭṭhāna was ignored or rejected in the “revival” and popularization of Theravada was because it was considered by many to be a survival from the ancient Tantric Buddhism or, and perhaps more likely, the earlier Hindu Tantricism (it is hard to tell them apart at the level of practice) that was prevalent in Thailand and its neighbors before being replaced by Theravada. Its apparent influence on the Dhammakaya Movement today is sometimes cited as an additional reason to reject the Dhammakaya as not Theravada or as not Buddhism (please note that there is whole other thread for discussion of that movement, I mention it here solely in the context of understanding borān kammaṭṭhāna).
Last edited by Caodemarte on Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Dmytro » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:24 am

Borān kammaṭṭhāna exemplifies natural transformation of abstract methodology into ritual.
It took the genius of Ajahn Lee to revive the parts of it that remained sound and practical, and skip the rest.



One of the aspects of this transformation is described in the post:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770&start=40#p416838

Even the teachings of Ajahn Lee, when applied without proper understanding, as a kind of ritual, may lead to harm.
Late forms of Borān kammaṭṭhāna were even more ritualistic, and therefore more dangerous for incompetent people. Hence the reform was quite necessary.

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by cjmacie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:06 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:08 pm
He has some interesting things to say in the talks linked here:
viewtopic.php?t=25834#p376203
mikenz66 wrote: Ven Thanissaro's Thai Forest Masters day-long lecture series http://www.audiodharma.org/series/16/talk/5996/ may be of interest to you. I think he mentioned that Ajahn Lee learned some of the practices on a trip to India. (Unfortunately, searching through four hours of talks to locate the exact passage is not easy!)
Sorry to chime in here so late, but I was there for those talks and don’t recall mention of this, which would have peaked my interest. Tracking this down would be informative (though probably laborious).

Curious about the possible link to India, I turned to TG’s translation of Ajaan Lee’s autobiography (link). He describes two trips to India, but mostly visiting places of significant events in the Buddha’s life – no mention of study or being taught there.

The autobiography, it turns out, is an amazing, even inspiring read. I found nothing about how he learned his breath-meditation method. There were, however, several indications of Chinese contact and influence, from the very start where he notes, describing his birth, being in a Horse Year (1907). I’m pretty sure that’s the Chinese zodiac system, as three 12-year cycles after 1907 is 1943, my birth year and a year of the Horse -- he was 36 yr 2 weeks older. In his constant wanderings, there are several encounters with Chinese (Buddhists). Towards the end of the text. he describes a huge festival he conceived and organized in 1957, celebrating the 2500 year anniversary of some critical date related to the origin of Buddhism. Participation by Chinese is mentioned in a couple of places.

According to the Wikipedia article, a Chinese ethnic group constitutes some 14% of Thailand’s population, and “Thais with partial Chinese ancestry comprise up to 40% of the population”.) Futher: “Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society, particularly in and around Bangkok. Their successful integration into Thai society has allowed for this group to hold positions of economic and political power. Thai Chinese businesses prosper as part of the larger bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties.”

Other research indicates that the Thai language, while classed in a different group (relating to Indic languages) than Chinese, it is structurally quite similar, and was written in Chinese (Han) script up to about the 13th century, and thereafter continued to borrow Chinese words.

Nothing conclusive here as to his breath notions being of Chinese origin (i.e. qi), but clearly he had close association with ethnic Chinese (and presumably their culture) throughout his life.

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by cjmacie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:17 pm

.
More on the "breath body' (sabbakaya) issue, and Than-Geoff’s view.

He clearly argues strongly for “physical” sense as distinct from the “group” or “body-of-the-breath” sense of kaya, which I believe has to do with his lineage of interpretation and training (especially Ajaan Lee), and also that his prime goal is practical teaching of the dhamma, rather than sophisticated abhidhamma-like analytical interpretations. Similarly as his translations are s/t criticized as to philological details, where his aim is more readability, together with s/t unusual renderings and a s/w poetic style to convey an aura of special meaning to the sutta language (rather than being more common-language prosaic).

On the other hand, he has characterized the Buddha’s teaching as a “radical phenomenology” (notably in the book Buddhist Romanticism), which caught my eye. I subsequently asked him about that (last year when he was in town for his annual day-long at IMC, Redwood City, Calif). He doesn’t claim extensive study of phenomenology, and uses the term s/w informally. I do think, though, from the overall tenor of his understanding (his teaching), and from the way he uses the term in that book, that his intuitive grasp of phenomenology is accurate. (I did give him a copy of the article that came up here earlier about Edmund Husserl – the father of phenomenology – and his expression of great interest in the teachings in the Pali Canon through the contemporaneous German translations of Neumann.)

Looking more closely at TG’s analysis (quoted above in bodom » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:11 pm), there’s evidence (bolded phrases in the excerpts quoted below) that he means “physical” body in a rather more phenomenological than strictly scientific (externally observed) sense.

“...With step 4 this principle is obvious: You’re trying to calm the effect of the breath on the felt sense of the body...”

“...it seems best to interpret “body” as meaning “physical body” in all of these contexts, and to interpret “entire body” in step 3 as referring to the entire physical body as sensed from within.”

That is to say, the body as experienced, as phenomena, in line with the Buddha’s view, rather than as an ontological thing, which is strongly suggested by the (ontologically biased) mundane Western idea of the “physical” body. TG elaborates (in his book) on that idea of “sensed from within” as phenomenological, the locus of applying the dhamma being one’s own private experience, which cannot be fully communicated or known by externally.
Javi wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:55 pm
cjmacie wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:22 pm
....Sabbakaya debate....
I hear you cjmacie, and I agree. However the point still stands that some interpret the third anapanasati step as a narrow focus of attention on the breath on a particular spot, this would, phenomenologically, still be different than a broader sense of interoception.
The anapanasati, I believe, works in either case. The mind attends to a single object (actually a phenomenal image or representation) at any one time. If it’s some sense of the whole “body” breathing, that’s the single present “whole” of bodily experience. If it’s the touch of breath at the nostrils, that’s also the single present “whole” of bodily experience at that time. In between the differences are of degree or scope, converging on the unification of samadhi (which many consider to be what anapanasati is about). Note that the whole-body scanning technique runs through a succession of foci, from one (perceived) body part to the next. This could be considered rather a khanika-samadhi exercise across shifting objects, but when the mind attempts to integrate all that into a single mental image / object, “entire” means unified; anapanasati steps 3 and 4 “sensitive” to that single unification, “calming” the same. The mind isn’t enumerating all those individual part at this point.

Actually, I suspect that Than-Geoff is teaching more a khanika samadhi (momentary concentration) approach, the broader sensory “breathing body” field more like the Mahasi use of the coarser movement of the abdomen with breathing rather than the relatively “fine-body” approach at the nostrils more suitable or ananpana / absorption samadhi – for practical, introductory reasons, as most Westerners less likely to be able to concentrate as narrowly (the same motivation behind the Mahasi technique). Than-Geoff certainly knows the fully absorbed jhāna-s, as per his videos talking about them, but for general teaching (reaching the broadest audience), he avoids teaching what he calls “jhāna-by-the-numbers”. And, as evident elsewhere in his teachings, he emphasizes the application of switching back and forth between concentration and insight, which is the proper end goal of both the khanika-samadhi and the appana-samadhi approaches.

Again, Than-Geoff prefers to avoid abhidhamma / Visuddhimagga type perspectives, such as the analysis of 5-door sensory mind-moments coupled with immediately succeeding mind-door mind-moments that form perception as mental mirror of the sensory stimuli, as implicit, I sense, in the Buddhadasa presentation of the “material body” and the “mental body”.

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by cjmacie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:22 pm

phil wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:39 pm
...In Japan the use of "ki" for healing (for example in reiki or kikou) has similarities...
As a matter of fact, Japanese ‘ki’ is modified pronunciation of Chinese ‘qi’. The pictograph is the same, as Japanese literary language is rooted in Chinese characters. ‘Ki’ is ‘qi’; ‘Do’ is ‘Dao’, etc., as also in ‘Ai-Ki-Do’ – the martial art (don’t recall what the ‘ai’ is, but it’s from Chinese too).

In fact, the word “Japan” has the Chinese characters for sun (‘ri’ s/t pronounced with a ‘zhe’ or ‘jhe’ sound) and root (‘ben’, as in root of a tree); so ‘jheben’ = ‘Japan’, or ‘riben’ like ‘Nippon’ – the “Land of the Rising Sun” (rising from its roots).

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:31 pm

Thanks for the interesting comments CJM. Perhaps I'll just have to listen to those talks again to find the passage I was referring to!

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:08 pm

cjmacie wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:22 pm
......
As a matter of fact, Japanese ‘ki’ is modified pronunciation of Chinese ‘qi’. The pictograph is the same, as Japanese literary language is rooted in Chinese characters. ‘Ki’ is ‘qi’; ‘Do’ is ‘Dao’, etc., as also in ‘Ai-Ki-Do’ – the martial art (don’t recall what the ‘ai’ is, but it’s from Chinese too).
Ai means harmony 合. I do not know how it is pronounced in Chinese.

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:24 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:08 pm
Ai means harmony 合. I do not know how it is pronounced in Chinese.
You can hear a modern standard pronunciation here:
https://translate.google.com/?source=gt ... /%E5%90%88

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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:53 am

cjmacie wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:06 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:08 pm
He has some interesting things to say in the talks linked here:
viewtopic.php?t=25834#p376203
mikenz66 wrote: Ven Thanissaro's Thai Forest Masters day-long lecture series http://www.audiodharma.org/series/16/talk/5996/ may be of interest to you. I think he mentioned that Ajahn Lee learned some of the practices on a trip to India. (Unfortunately, searching through four hours of talks to locate the exact passage is not easy!)
Sorry to chime in here so late, but I was there for those talks and don’t recall mention of this, which would have peaked my interest. Tracking this down would be informative (though probably laborious).
OK, go to about 19:30 of the second talk.
Ajahn Lee took two trips to India, one in the 1930s, the other in 1950. In 1950 he spent quite a while there. And one of the questions that occurred to him was: You see these yogis sitting all day under the sun and standing on one leg. How do they do that? And, being Ajahn Lee, he didn't go up and ask them, he went into meditation and asked the question in his meditation. And the answer that came out was: they're playing with the breath energy. So he said: well, they are using it for that purpose, can we use it for other puposes? And so he started working with the breath energies in his meditations. When he came back to Thailand he wrote Method 1 of Keeping the Breath in Mind.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/tha ... ml#method1
...
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Re: Origin of Thanisarro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by cjmacie » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:26 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:53 am
Ajahn Lee took two trips to India, one in the 1930s, the other in 1950. In 1950 he spent quite a while there. And one of the questions that occurred to him was: You see these yogis sitting all day under the sun and standing on one leg. How do they do that? And, being Ajahn Lee, he didn't go up and ask them, he went into meditation and asked the question in his meditation. And the answer that came out was: they're playing with the breath energy. So he said: well, they are using it for that purpose, can we use it for other puposes? And so he started working with the breath energies in his meditations. When he came back to Thailand he wrote Method 1 of Keeping the Breath in Mind.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/tha ... ml#method1
...
Thanks for finding that.

Curious -- it seems to imply that Ajaan Lee was in some sense inspired by seeing Indian practitioners, but actually devised his own method independent of Indian teaching.

In his autobiography he mentions that, in all his wanderings, he enjoyed exchanging information (mutual teaching) with all sorts of people -- s/t he taught, other times he learned. He may have picked-up those aspects of his method which resemble Chinese qi-cultivation s/t in those contacts, as he did often cross paths with Thai-Chinese, as documented in the autobiography.

Or maybe it comes through Thanissaro B.'s variations on the method (as in his stock body-scan guided meditation), from some exposure, however brief, to Taoist qi-work techniques.

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:36 pm

Yes, it doesn't sound like direct instruction, but the account on that talk is rather brief, and, as you say, Ajahn Lee seems to have picked up ideas from many sources.

I guess one's attitude to these admixtures depends on how one views the suttas and their relationship to personal instruction and personally-worked-out methods. I.e. whether where on sits in the spectrum of seeing the suttas as a set of instructions or a framework for understanding.

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Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by bodom » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:55 am

So here it is, the origin of Ajahn Lee's technique, as explained in Thanissaro's new book:
It’s interesting to know how Ajaan Lee arrived at this technique. In the late 1940’s, he had gone to India and had noticed all of the yogis who could sleep on beds of nails or stand on one leg all day. So he asked himself, how did they do that? His way of answering that question was not to go ask them but to sit in meditation and to pose the question in his mind. The answer he came up with was that they were playing with the breath energies in the body. So he decided to give it a try himself, not for the purpose of sleeping on beds of nails, but to see if it could help with concentration and also to deal with his own personal ailments. After he returned to Thailand, he wrote down what he had learned in what is now Keeping the Breath in Mind, Method 1.

A few years later, he went off to spend the Rains retreat in a part of the jungle in northern Thailand, a place that required three days just to walk there. Soon after he arrived, he had a heart attack. There were no doctors around, no medicine, nothing. So what was he going to do? He decided to use the breath energies. You’ll notice, if you look at Method 1, that most of the breath energies he was dealing with there were in the head. With Method 2, he was more interested in energies in the body. Because he was dealing with a heart ailment, he started with the energy in the back of the neck. If you’ve ever had a heart problem, you’ll know that there’s a lot of tightness in that part of the body.

From there, Ajaan Lee expanded his research into the breath energies to the point where he was dealing with the entire body. And it worked: His heart condition improved, and at the end of the Rains retreat he was able to walk out of the jungle. Then he wrote down Method 2, and that’s what he taught for the rest of his life.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... n0001.html

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To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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mikenz66
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Location: New Zealand

Re: Origin of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Meditation Method

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:02 am

Thanks Bodom. That's basically what he said in the talk (naturally!).

:heart:
Mike

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