Focusing on the nostrils

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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LuisR
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Focusing on the nostrils

Post by LuisR » Sun May 13, 2018 5:02 pm

How many of you focus on the nostrils when meditation. Which meditation traditions practice like this? I have read about focusing on the tip of the nose, does this really mean on the entrance and exist of the nostrils?

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Sam Vara
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by Sam Vara » Sun May 13, 2018 6:01 pm

I do a type of meditation which - in part - involves focusing on the point where one feels the touch of the air as it enters and leaves the body.

Of course, one could focus anywhere, but I think that when people talk about the "tip of the nose" they normally mean sustained attention on where one feels the breath entering and leaving the nostrils.

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rightviewftw
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by rightviewftw » Sun May 13, 2018 7:10 pm

My impression is that for samatha (entering the 5 factored absorbtion jhana) using the breath is a quite popular approach in many traditions ie Thai Forest, i think it is more or less following the instruction outlined in Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani.
I do not know of a tradition that practices Vipassana by using the breath at the nostrils but i know that people do, ie one could use a Mahasi Method technique and focus on the sensations associated with the in and out breaths where the air enters at the nostrils instead of the rising and falling of the abdomen.

LuisR
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by LuisR » Sun May 13, 2018 7:45 pm

Yes, I meant for samatha and anapana meditation. Thank you for the replies.

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mikenz66
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by mikenz66 » Mon May 14, 2018 4:57 am

LuisR wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:02 pm
How many of you focus on the nostrils when meditation. Which meditation traditions practice like this? I have read about focusing on the tip of the nose, does this really mean on the entrance and exist of the nostrils?
Pa Auk Sayadaw and others teach that method. See this and other threads:
viewtopic.php?t=31775#p469418
viewtopic.php?t=26795&start=20

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Mike

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DooDoot
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by DooDoot » Mon May 14, 2018 5:26 am

LuisR wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:02 pm
How many of you focus on the nostrils when meditation.
Focusing on the nostrils can develop calmness (tranquility). I practised focusing on the nostrils when I was a beginner and until it ceased to bring progress. When the mind & breath become very calm by focusing on the nostrils, the mind can lose clarity & lose clear awareness of breathing.
LuisR wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:02 pm
I have read about focusing on the tip of the nose, does this really mean on the entrance and exist of the nostrils?
It means focusing on a single point or small area of skin where the touch of the in-coming breath and out-going breath is most sensitive.
LuisR wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 5:02 pm
Which meditation traditions practice like this?
The Pali suttas do not teach to focus on the nostrils. However, if a meditator successfully practises according to the Pali scriptures (which teach quietening the mind by giving up craving and associated thinking), there will naturally come a phase in the progress of meditation when the mind naturally focuses on the breathing at the nostrils. When this occurs, the breathing becomes more calmer. This reality has resulted in many meditation teachers from many different traditions who teach focusing on the nostrils.

As I said, focusing on the nostrils can develop calmness. However, when focusing on the nostrils is done volitionally & prematurely, it will eventually lead to a loss of clarity & even sleepiness. But, as I said, we can focus on the nostrils to develop tranquility until it ceases to bring progress. When focusing on the nostrils ceases to bring progress, then we can use the calm mind we have developed to meditate with an open, bright yet quiet mind.

The first meditation book I read was the following, which refers to focusing on the nostrils as the "second trick".
The second trick is guarding, to choose one point along the breath's path and to watch or guard the breath there. We do not need to follow the breath anymore, but the results are as if we con­tinued to do so. This citta, this sati, is no allowed to go anywhere; it must stay only at that point. It guards the breath passing in and passing out, which give results equal to following, except that guarding is more subtle.

Generally, we use the furthest point in the nose where the breath makes contact, which is usually at the tip. That point is the easiest and most simple to guard, unless you have a hooked nose that comes down low and a high upper lip. Then you might feel the breath’s touch just above the upper lip. For each of us the point will be in a different place, depending on the shape and structure of each nose and lip.

Find the place where it is easiest to observe the breath. If it is difficult to find while breathing normally, take a few deep, strong breath it will become obvious. The exact location is not impor­tant, only find that point in your nose, or even on the upper lip, where you feel the breath most clearly. Once you find it, guard that point as the breath passes in and out. The mind, sati, stays right at point and contemplates the breath as it goes in and out. Just breathing in and breathing out with the mind guarding at that point: this is stage two in our series of tricks.


Anapanasati
Last edited by DooDoot on Mon May 14, 2018 5:45 am, edited 9 times in total.

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mikenz66
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by mikenz66 » Mon May 14, 2018 5:27 am

Posts not relevant to answering the original question split off to here:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=31900


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Mike

LuisR
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Re: Focusing on the nostrils

Post by LuisR » Mon May 14, 2018 7:16 pm

Thanks for the replies.

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