Sunlun Sayadaw method

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tiltbillings
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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:02 am

Zom wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:18 pm
tilt wrote:Your criticism is grounded in opinion, but certainly not experience.
Quite bold statement, don't you think?
Possibly, but certainly less so than your dismissal of this practice.
But, if you are really interested, from the perspective of personal experience I can say this: if you really want an effective preliminary exercise - you should build up and keep up heightened awareness to all kinds of your bodily actions during the whole day or more - before starting sitting meditation. This will help.
Of course it will, and I know this to be so since it is what I do as part of my day in/day out practice.
Doing any kind of physical exercises (I include forcing the breath here as well) for some 5-10-20 minutes before anapanasati will hardly give you anything - you'll get same results if you skip it altogether.
And in regards to “forced breathing” (Kornfield uses “heavy breathing”) you are speaking from direct personal experience of doing this sort of practice? It is not my experience in regard to the Sunlun inspired concentrated breathing practice I have done.
zom wrote:However, as I've said earlier - forcing the breath can lead to an altered state of mind - that one you get when you inflate a balloon. This is not any kind of "progress" or "success" - but simply a chemical reaction in your body. 8-)
I know of what you speak. I cannot address a formal Sunlun retreat and how that is dealt with in a retreat setting by experienced teachers. Also, I expect that the body acclimatizes to the kind of breathing. For myself, it has not been, and is not an issue, since my breathing is not as intense as it is in the retreats.
Last edited by tiltbillings on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by pilgrim » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:13 am

As pointed out above, Sunlun's instruction for heavy breathing is not an end in itself but merely a strategy to gain concentration not unlike counting the breath or using the mantra Buddho. If this does not count as anapanasati, then it would still be within Satipatthana, just like Mahasi's use of the abdomen as the subject. There are many other innovations which have a tenous connection to the suttas. Ajahn Suthep's dynamic meditation on the stylised hand movements is another. I suspect aversion to Sunlun's method is not so much his choice of subject but because it appears coarse and rough and not as refined as Ajahn Suthep's choreography of hand movements.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:54 am
Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:46 am
and mine opinion is that there is zero evidence that it contravenes good Dhamma practice.
If that's the best Dhammic substantiation that can be provided for such curious huffing, then I guess I have little to respond to.
If it is feeble it is no less so than the arguments you and zom have proffered.
retro wrote:Huffing.
Interestingly snide choice of words.
MN 118/MN 10 wrote:“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

“Breathing in long, he understands: ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, he understands: ‘I breathe out long.’ Breathing in short, he understands: ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, he understands: ‘I breathe out short.’
In MN 118/MN 10 there is nothing that says how long or how exactly one must or should do a particular aspect of the practice outlined in either discourse, nor is it described exactly how it must be done. So cultivating concentration/mindfulness by paying attention to one's breathing done in a strong steady pattern for a period is not out of bounds in regards to the opening directives of MN 118 and MN 10.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:24 am

pilgrim wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:13 am
As pointed out above, Sunlun's instruction for heavy breathing is not an end in itself but merely a strategy to gain concentration not unlike counting the breath or using the mantra Buddho. If this does not count as anapanasati, then it would still be within Satipatthana, just like Mahasi's use of the abdomen as the subject. There are many other innovations which have a tenous connection to the suttas. Ajahn Suthep's dynamic meditation on the stylised hand movements is another. I suspect aversion to Sunlun's method is not so much his choice of subject but because it appears coarse and rough and not as refined as Ajahn Suthep's choreography of hand movements.
Nicely stated.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:34 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:23 am
If it is feeble it is no less so than the arguments you and zom have proffered.
Despite your protests, it is indeed much less. Zom and I have provided Sutta, Suttānuloma and Atthakathā. Advocates of the coarse breathing technique invented by Sunlun Sayadaw have provided mere Attanomati.

It is clear how the Theravada tradition would judge such a situation based upon the ranking system provided below, but in respecting the intellectual and spiritual autonomy of others, it can be left for the individual to decide which source of reason and guidance is more compelling to them personally.
1. Sutta: the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.
2. Suttānuloma: a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.
3. Atthakathā: a commentary.
4. Attanomati: the personal opinions of later generations of teachers.
Javi wrote:Sunlun Sayadaw taught himself to practice, with little instructions, which is probably why he developed a style which is atypical. Even though it is similar to some forms of Indian pranayama, the evidence points to being something he came up with himself.
I am happy to conclude the matter at this point if you are.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:34 am
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:23 am
If it is feeble it is no less so than the arguments you and zom have proffered.
Despite your protests, it is indeed much less. Zom and I have provided Sutta, Suttānuloma and Atthakathā. Advocates of the coarse breathing have provided mere Attanomati.
Actually, the suttas and the commentaries do not support your position. As Ven Dhammanando states:

'But no such stipulation {"[The yogi] should not purposely breathe very long or very short breaths."} is found in the Suttas or the Visuddhimagga or in any other Theravadin source. The status of the claim in the Theravada is not that of a "traditional understanding" but merely that of a widely held modern opinion, though not by any means a universally held one.'

That is to say, there is nothing in the Theravada tradition that says no to the practice developed by the Ven Sunlun.
retro wrote:It is clear how the Theravada tradition would judge such a situation based upon the ranking system provided below, but in respecting the intellectual and spiritual autonomy of others, it can be left for the individual to decide which source of reason is more compelling to them personally.
1. Sutta: the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.
2. Suttānuloma: a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.
3. Atthakathā: a commentary.
4. Attanomati: the personal opinions of later generations of teachers.
Interestingly, and in keeping with Theravadin tradition, Ven Sunlun was carefully evaluated and tested by learned Elders, finding that his teachings were very much inline with the suttas. I will take these learned monks learned opinions and assessments of Ven Sunlun over the less learned contrarian positions presented in this thread.
Living Buddhist Masters by Jack Kornfield Unity Press, 1977 page 85 wrote:He next betook himself to the caves nearby and practiced diligently, until in October, 1920, he attained the final stage of freedom, arahatship. His achievement became known among the monks and many came to test him.Though he was a barely literate man, his answers satisfied even the most learned monks. Very often they disagreed with his replies but when his answers were checked against the texts they found many important passages in the scriptures to support his statements. Many learned monks from various parts of the world went to practice mindfulness under him, including the Nyaung Sayadaw, who also became fully enlightened after intense practice.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:37 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:20 am
Actually, the suttas and the commentaries do not support your position.
And on this point we disagree. Your reference to venerable Dhammanando's quote may have applicability to the initial steps of anapanasati, but your attempt to use that as a broad brush dismissal of all the sutta and commentarial points made thus far is totally baseless. For example, does what ven. Dhammanando said refute the need to tranquilize (rather than aggravate) bodily formations? No, it does not.
"Now, lady, what are fabrications?"

"These three fabrications, friend Visakha: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, & mental fabrications."

"But what are bodily fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

"But why are in-&-out breaths bodily fabrications? Why are directed thought & evaluation verbal fabrications? Why are perceptions & feelings mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

...

"But when a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, which things cease first: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, or mental fabrications?"

"When a monk is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling, friend Visakha, verbal fabrications cease first, then bodily fabrications, then mental fabrications."
As we see from the sutta, bodily fabrications are tranquilized, prior to mental fabrications being tranquilized. By this logic, the only thing one could do worse than huffing, is to engage in verbal fabrications. This natural Dhammic order of things directly contradicts your earlier assertion that...
tiltbillings wrote:The mind is not "inflamed" during "heavy breathing" period, nor is it "inflamed" after.
tiltbillings wrote:Interestingly, and in keeping with Theravadin tradition, Ven Sunlun was carefully evaluated and tested by learned Elders, finding that his teachings were very much inline with the suttas. I will take these learned monks learned opinions and assessments of Ven Sunlun over the less learned contrarian positions presented in this thread.
By all means, have your faith and reverence in these various claims of enlightenment and such, and the possibility that there may be something more to all of this than mere attanomati. That is your prerogative to regard the matter in such a way. As it stands however, in this topic, it has not been demonstrated, and the scriptural support for it (rather than the alleged absence of direct contradiction) remains totally non-existent.

Until such time as any support or evidence is forthcoming, I will leave you to your attanomati...

:buddha2:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:37 am
Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:20 am
Actually, the suttas and the commentaries do not support your position.
And on this point we disagree. Your reference to venerable Dhammanando's quote may have applicability to the initial steps of anapanasati, but your attempt to use that as a broad brush dismissal of all the sutta and commentarial points made thus far is totally baseless. For example, does what ven. Dhammanando said refute the need to tranquilize (rather than aggravate) bodily formations? No, it does not.
"Now, lady, what are fabrications?"

...
Again with the "aggravate," which simply misses the point of the preliminary practice. The Sunlun "heavy breathing" is the hardly whole of the practice, and to characterize this preliminary practice it as "aggravate" is hardly speaking from a place actual knowledge of what is being criticized. It is simply supposition with no real basis, thusly carrying no real weight.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:Interestingly, and in keeping with Theravadin tradition, Ven Sunlun was carefully evaluated and tested by learned Elders, finding that his teachings were very much inline with the suttas. I will take these learned monks learned opinions and assessments of Ven Sunlun over the less learned contrarian positions presented in this thread.
By all means, have your faith and reverence in these various claims of enlightenment and such, and the possibility that there may be something more to all of this than mere attanomati. That is your prerogative to regard the matter in such a way. As it stands however, in this topic, it has not been demonstrated, and the scriptural support for it (rather than the alleged absence of direct contradiction) remains totally non-existent.

Until such time as any support or evidence is forthcoming, I will leave you to your attanomati...
“mere attanomati” Not just opinion. Having done a practice, doing a practice, inspired by, and with characteristics of, the Sunlun method, I can say with the utmost confidence of personal experience that your “aggravate” is baseless supposition, not grounded in actual meditative experience.

If there were “aggravation” being generated by the mindfulness/concentration cultivated by the preliminary strong breathing practice, one would expect it to carry over into the meditation after the gong sounds and the strong breathing stops. What one finds, rather, is very often a refreshing calm and attentiveness/mindfulness. One not is buzzed from hyperventilation, nor agitated, nor aggravated; rather, there is that clear presence that one experiences when the mind is quiet and mindful and pliable.

In other words, the Buddha’s instructions in MN 118/MN10 are met:

Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.”

From there one can either follow the work of MN 118 or MN 10 or that of any number of other of the Buddha’s instructions.

A couple of comments for others who might be reading this. This is not a magic practice. It is one method among many that have arisen from the Buddha’s teachings, and like all of them, it takes work and it takes time and it takes constancy of practice, particularly if you are working on your own. I would also recommend, if you can, do some Buddhist meditation retreat work, not necessarily Sunlun style to start to get a handle on what concentration and mindfulness feel like and how they work
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:14 am

This is the explanation of "long/short" breathing (1st and 2nd steps of 16) in Visuddhimagga:

He breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths reckoned as an extent. As he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths reckoned as an extent, zeal arises. Through zeal he breathes in a long in-breath more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. Through zeal he breathes out a long out-breath more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. Through zeal he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. As, through zeal, he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths more subtle than before reckoned as an extent, gladness arises.

“‘Zeal arises’: additional zeal, which is profitable and has the characteristic of desire to act, arises due to the satisfaction obtained when the meditation has brought progressive improvement. ‘More subtle than before’: more subtle than before the already-described zeal arose; for the breaths occur more subtly owing to the meditation’s influence in tranquilizing the body’s distress and disturbance. ‘Gladness arises’: fresh happiness arises of the kinds classed as minor, etc., which is the gladness that accompanies the consciousness occupied with the meditation and is due to the fact that the peacefulness of the object increases with the growing subtlety of the breaths and to the fact that the meditation subject keeps to its course.

In other words, the Buddha’s instructions in MN 118/MN10 are met:

“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.”

From there one can either follow the work of MN 118 or MN 10 or that of any number of other of the Buddha’s instructions.
Visuddhimagga (citing more ancient Patisambidamagga) equates this "ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out" with all 16 steps of anapanasati.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:00 pm

Zom wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:14 am

...


Yes, despite all of that it really does not change the fact that the preliminary exercise cultivates concentration and mindfulness that then can be easily applied to MN 118 or MN 10 types of practices. And interesting enough, in rereading these VM passages, one can experience that as the concentration and mindfulness becomes established in the preliminary exercise these passages from the VM can be applied as descriptive of the experiences of the preliminary exercise. So thanks for posting this, it helps as a clarification.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 pm

"Promoting his favoured style of meditation, he discerns: 'I am promoting my favoured style of meditation'; or denigrating another's favoured style of meditation, he discerns 'I am denigrating another's favoured style of meditation'. Or citing texts in support of his case, he discerns 'I am citing texts in support of my case'; or dismissing texts cited by another, he discerns 'I am dismissing texts cited by another'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how my understanding of the suttas is superior'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how his understanding of the suttas is inferior'. He trains himself 'I will justify the terms and tone of my posts'. He trains himself 'I will object to the terms and tone of another post'. He trains himself 'I will fisk the sutta references of another'...

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:08 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 pm
"Promoting his favoured style of meditation, he discerns: 'I am promoting my favoured style of meditation'; or denigrating another's favoured style of meditation, he discerns 'I am denigrating another's favoured style of meditation'. Or citing texts in support of his case, he discerns 'I am citing texts in support of my case'; or dismissing texts cited by another, he discerns 'I am dismissing texts cited by another'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how my understanding of the suttas is superior'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how his understanding of the suttas is inferior'. He trains himself 'I will justify the terms and tone of my posts'. He trains himself 'I will object to the terms and tone of another post'. He trains himself 'I will fisk the sutta references of another'...
Hilarious.

For clarification, however, I am not promoting the Sunlun method. I am, however, defending it against rather baseless attack, and in doing this, it serves a personal purpose for me in that it helps me clarify my understanding of, and my experiences with, this style of practice, which I have used and still do. An example of what has been helpful for me is the above quote from the VM by zom, which was actually quite helpful in seeing the preliminary practice's function. And if what I am doing is helpful to others, then that is a good thing.

Over the years here I have seen Burmese Vipassana styles of practice criticized variously much along the same lines as the Sunlun practice is being criticized in this thread, as not being in line with the suttas and commentaries. Quite frankly, the Dhamma in broad enough, deep enough and flexible enough to accommodate such variations as the Sunlun method to the Vimalaramsi smile technique. As much as I do not care for Vimalaramsi or Thanissaro in their criticisms of other types of practice, I have not and will not criticize the techniques they teach, given that they do seem to work for some people. If they work for those who apply them, then that is a good thing.

As an aside, what would be an interesting exploration in another thread is a discussion of failures with certain practices that are quite effective for others. From what I have seen it is mostly not a personal failing (the individual is not a failure); rather, it is a poor fit for the individual, or maybe unskilled teaching or both.
>> 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

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by aflatun » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:41 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 pm
"Promoting his favoured style of meditation, he discerns: 'I am promoting my favoured style of meditation'; or denigrating another's favoured style of meditation, he discerns 'I am denigrating another's favoured style of meditation'. Or citing texts in support of his case, he discerns 'I am citing texts in support of my case'; or dismissing texts cited by another, he discerns 'I am dismissing texts cited by another'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how my understanding of the suttas is superior'. He trains himself 'I will demonstrate how his understanding of the suttas is inferior'. He trains himself 'I will justify the terms and tone of my posts'. He trains himself 'I will object to the terms and tone of another post'. He trains himself 'I will fisk the sutta references of another'...
:rofl:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:01 pm

This thread seems to have drifted rather far from it's original purpose. Can we return to exploring the practicalities of the technique? I have not tried since briefly following the guided meditation in James Baraz' talk almost two years ago viewtopic.php?t=25644 but Javi's interest in the approach makes me curious to experiment with it a little.

I think this is important:
Javi wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:06 am
I just see it as a useful technique for arousing energy, something which is often neglected by Western Theravada teachers who prefer to talk about relaxing, being very calm and light with our effort. This is nice, but sometimes one needs the opposite approach. ...
Particularly on retreats, arousing energy can be very important to getting over the initial tiredness and sloth and topor. My usual approach is to do a significant amount of walking. I find slow, focused, walking is a great preparation for sitting, and a brisker style is very helpful to prevent sleepiness after meals. I presume the breathing exercises would serve much the same purpose.

:heart:
Mike

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