Sunlun Sayadaw 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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Zom
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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:40 am

counting breaths, which, while not directly spelled out in the suttas, has been used in anapanasati for centuries. The use of "Buddho" is not spelled out in the suttas either, but it still counts as anapanasati. Another example is the visualization of nimittas at the nose tip and so on.
These developments are not directly in the suttas but they are all still anapanasati.
At least, these are in the Commentaries, that is, in Visuddhimagga. But forcing breath is not there.
“Ānāpānasati method”? Whose interpretation? I see nothing in the MN 118 that says anything about the rate of one’s breathing.
Traditional theravadin commentarial interpretation. Here, a remark by Ven. Bodhi to MN 118:

The practice of mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati)
involves no deliberate attempt to regulate the breath, as
in hatha yoga, but a sustained effort to fix awareness on
the breath as it moves in and out in its natural rhythm.
Mindfulness is set up at the nostrils or the upper lip,
wherever the impact of the breath is felt most distinctly;
the length of the breath is noted but not consciously controlled.
The complete development of this meditation
method is expounded in MN 118. For a collection of texts
on this subject, see Bhikkhu Ñyanamoli, Mindfulness of
Breathing. See too Vsm VIII, 145–244.

As for what is not found in the suttas and commentaries, one can find in the teachings of Ven Thanissaro, for example, a lot of differing things to aid one’s practice that are not found in the suttas or commentaries, but they work in helping the student learn, see, gain confidence – saddhā – etc.
Forceful breath not only isn't there, but it contradicts traditional understanding. But, of course, it is up to you whether to follow something or not, practise or not.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by aflatun » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:28 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:45 am
aflatun wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:49 am
This link seems to have his email which you use to register:

Registration
Thanks! I've just signed up for it. If anyone else wishes to do so there is still time. Though the link states that the course starts on 9th October, Peter Harvey in his e-mail says it's actually the 14th.
Glad to be of help Bhante, and thanks for the info!
"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 Dhammanando » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:31 pm

Zom wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:40 am
Forceful breath not only isn't there, but it contradicts traditional understanding. But, of course, it is up to you whether to follow something or not, practise or not.
Among ancient sources, it is the non-Theravadin Vimuttimagga which states that it's the natural rather than the deliberately controlled breath that is the proper object of the yogi's attention:
"[The yogi] should not purposely breathe very long or very short breaths."
But no such stipulation 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.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:13 pm

But no such stipulation 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.
We are speaking about forcing the breath - that is - making it gross, not subtle. And both Anapanasati sutta (4th exercise) and Visuddhimagga (pp 264-265 modern edition; explanation of long and short breath) go against such practice and such understanding.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Javi » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:16 pm

Zom wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:29 pm
That's only one part of the sutta. It also speaks of arousing mindfulness and energy (viriya) - and it doesn't really explain how, this is just as good a method as any other to arouse vigor.
These qualities are based entirely on faith (saddha), wisdom (pannya), rightviews (sammaditthi), and an urge to practise (samvega). Breath exercises have nothing to do with viriya or sati. Nowhere, neither in suttas nor in commentaries, you can find even a hint about forcing a breath. So, this is entirely speculative, non-buddhist thing.
Breath exercises certainly help with establishing sati and viriya, even if they are not for everyone, it clearly has helped some like Sunlun sayadaw reach arhatship.

The sutta speaks of training oneself (sikkhati), they don't specify how exactly this is to be done. It is likely that this minimalistic way of instruction was a flexible one. We know breath control techniques existed in India, and it is interesting that the Buddha never says not to do these things as an aid or preliminary to practice.
We are speaking about forcing the breath - that is - making it gross, not subtle.
No we are not speaking about forcing it, only manipulating it in a certain way to arouse mindfulness.
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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:12 pm

it clearly has helped some like Sunlun sayadaw reach arhatship.
If you believe in that.
No we are not speaking about forcing it, only manipulating it in a certain way to arouse mindfulness.
As far as I remember from J. Kornfield book, he described this practice exactly as forcing the breath. Not forcing but controlling - this is Ven. Buddhadhasa method. As for controlling, here I agree with Ven. Dhammanando, that nothing is said about it (or against) in traditional theravadin literature. Well, maybe except a wrong method of holding one's breath ("meditation of non-breathing") mentioned by the Buddha.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:34 pm

Zom wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:13 pm
But no such stipulation 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.
We are speaking about forcing the breath - that is - making it gross, not subtle. And both Anapanasati sutta (4th exercise) and Visuddhimagga (pp 264-265 modern edition; explanation of long and short breath) go against such practice and such understanding.
Oh, heavens. To restate: The supposed "forcing" is an effective preliminary practice for cultivating concentration, ardency, alertness, & mindfulness which is carried through to the main practice where the breath proceeds naturally, where one so established finds it far easier to approach the practices of the "sutta (4th exercise) and Visuddhimagga (pp 264-265 modern edition; explanation of long and short breath)", and I can say this with confidence as one who has worked with a practice derived from, and much like, the traditional Sunlun method. Your criticism is grounded in opinion, but certainly not experience.
Last edited by tiltbillings on Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:29 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 Sam Vara » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:22 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:34 pm
Zom wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:13 pm
But no such stipulation 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.
We are speaking about forcing the breath - that is - making it gross, not subtle. And both Anapanasati sutta (4th exercise) and Visuddhimagga (pp 264-265 modern edition; explanation of long and short breath) go against such practice and such understanding.
Oh, heavens. To restate: The supposed "forcing" is an effective preliminary practice for cultivating concentration, ardency, alertness, & mindfulness which is carried through to the main practice where the breath proceeds naturally, where one so established finds it far easier to approach the practices of the "sutta (4th exercise) and Visuddhimagga (pp 264-265 modern edition; explanation of long and short breath)", and I can say this confidence as one who has worked with a practice derived from, and much like, the traditional Sunlun method. Your criticism is grounded in opinion, but certainly not experience.
Excellent post. I'm giving this "forcing" (probably a misnomer, as it is hardly forceful!) a week's trial. I've done two days and will report back after the week is up. Sometimes we just have to trust that other people can be helpful in the practice, and get our boots muddy in the actual terrain rather than poring over the map.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Zom » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:18 pm

Your criticism is grounded in opinion, but certainly not experience.
Quite bold statement, don't you think?

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. 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. 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-)
Last edited by Zom on Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:21 pm

Zom wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:18 pm
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.
>> 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 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:26 pm

Greetings Zom,
Zom wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:18 pm
Your criticism is grounded in opinion, but certainly not experience.
Quite bold statement, don't you think?
Indeed... especially when you've provided substantiation for your position from Theravadin texts. That alone takes it beyond mere opinion in the view of the classical Theravada tradition, which prioritises sources in this manner:
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.
You're providing perspectives from more highly regarded sources than the attanomati of Sunlun Sayadaw.

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)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:26 pm
Indeed... especially when you've provided substantiation for your position from Theravadin texts. That alone takes it beyond mere opinion in the view of the classical Theravada tradition, which prioritises sources in this manner: ...
I guess I missed that. What seems to have established that the Theravadin texts are silent on the issue of whether or not one starts by controlling the breath or not.

I guess if one takes the position that "If it's not explicitly spelled out in the suttas (or commentaries) then it's an aberration" then perhaps something has been proved.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:10 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:26 pm
Indeed... especially when you've provided substantiation for your position from Theravadin texts. That alone takes it beyond mere opinion in the view of the classical Theravada tradition, which prioritises sources in this manner: ...
I guess I missed that.
Apparently so.

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)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Javi » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 am
Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:10 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:26 pm
Indeed... especially when you've provided substantiation for your position from Theravadin texts. That alone takes it beyond mere opinion in the view of the classical Theravada tradition, which prioritises sources in this manner: ...
I guess I missed that.
Apparently so.

Metta,
Paul. :)
proves nothing
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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:55 am

Well, yes, I saw an opinion... I found Ven Dhammanando's post more persuasive:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=30365&start=40#p440523

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:20 am

Greetings Javi,
Javi wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:53 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 am
Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:10 am

I guess I missed that.
Apparently so.

Metta,
Paul. :)
proves nothing
Yes it does. It proves that the charge against Zom that his persepctive was attanomati (or lower), is demonstrably false.

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)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:10 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:26 pm
Indeed... especially when you've provided substantiation for your position from Theravadin texts. That alone takes it beyond mere opinion in the view of the classical Theravada tradition, which prioritises sources in this manner: ...
I guess I missed that.
No, you did not. It was not there to be missed.
>> 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 Javi » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:20 am
Yes it does. It proves that the charge against Zom that his persepctive was attanomati (or lower), is demonstrably false.

Metta,
Paul. :)
As has been said before in this thread (and others), the suttas say nothing about controlling the breath.

And now we are just going in circles
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: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:43 am

Greetings,

For those advocating the intentional act of making the breath coarse, I bring your attention to Vism VIII.168

Sections 4-9 are of most significance.
“How, breathing in long, does he know: ‘I breathe in long,’ breathing out
long, does he know: ‘I breathe out long?’ (1) He breathes in a long in-breath
reckoned as an extent. (2) He breathes out a long out-breath reckoned as an
extent. (3) 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. (4) Through zeal he breathes in
a long in-breath more subtle than before
reckoned as an extent. (5) Through zeal
he breathes out a long out-breath more subtle than before reckoned as an extent.
(6) 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. (7) Through gladness he breathes
in a long in-breath more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. (8) Through
gladness he breathes out a long out-breath more subtle than before reckoned as
an extent. (9) Through gladness he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths
and out-breaths more subtle than before reckoned as an extent. As, through
gladness, he breathes in and breathes out long in-breaths and out-breaths more
subtle than before reckoned as an extent, his mind turns away from the long inbreaths
and out-breaths and equanimity is established
.
Similarly, in the suttas there is frequent mention of the act of tranquilizing the bodily formation...
SN 54.10 wrote:He trains thus: 'Tranquilizing the bodily formation, I will breathe in';
He trains thus: 'Tranquilizing the bodily formation, I will breathe out';..."
Not once have I seen an instruction in the sutta or commentary which advises the meditator to inflame or aggravate the bodily formation with the breath. Have you?

Perhaps an advocate for such folly can point us in the direction of any scriptural support for this position? I would be incredibly interested to see something... anything...?

The only possible instance I can think of is one where the meditator who is on the verge of falling asleep is given a series of possible options by which to keep themselves awake... (AN 7.58) ... but even it does not recommend coarse breathing.
Javi wrote:As has been said before in this thread (and others), the suttas say nothing about controlling the breath.
Yet they do speak of tranquillizing the bodily formation with the breath, and a preference for subtle breath over coarse breath... or are you denying the existence of such sutta instruction? Is there any doctrinal support for your position or is your opposition rooted instead in faith and conjecture?

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)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Sunlun Sayadaw method

Post by Javi » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:55 am

You're just redoing the same argument from the last page retro

It is a preliminary practice to increase mindfulness

did you read the whole thread or tilt's posts?
Last edited by Javi on Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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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