If you aren't doing Vipassana...

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
yuuki
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If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by yuuki » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:59 pm

I'm still in the middle of getting educated about vipassana meditation (and whether I want to do it at all), and I'd like to put that whole issue aside and ask: if you aren't doing vipassana meditation, then what meditation instructions (if any) are you following or inspired by?

Right now my meditation is a mixture of just resting and trying to calm the mind.

When I'm resting I just relax and don't try to "accomplish" anything.

When I'm calming the mind I generally do things to alleviate stress in the body or in my feelings, and try to inject positive qualities into the breath.

Great thanks to everyone!

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acinteyyo
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by acinteyyo » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:50 pm

Hi yuuki,

are you mindful and/or do you concentrate on a certain meditationobject like the breath or something else?
Do you notice what happens and/or do you know or try to know any thought that comes by?
Do you try not to be distracted by content of senses and thoughts but concentrate to examine the nature of phenomena?
Is the mind getting calm instead of agitated?
Do you let go of things or try to let go?
Do you learn something about the nature of phenomena, its impermanents and/or its unpleasantness and/or its emptiness of a self?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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cooran
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:35 pm

Hello yuuki,

Often yogis can find Vipassana too "dry" - and particularly in the West, we have a problem not experienced in modern Asian or Ancient cultures - that of not loving ourselves. We are inculcated with the idea that loving oneself is a form of conceit - whereas the Buddha taught not to differentiate between self and others with regard to metta. You may like to make Metta meditation your main practice – it is an effective vehicle leading to Liberation.

My favourite audio of the chant from Amaravati (which we also use at Dhammagiri Forest Monastery):
Brahma Viharas – Andrew Quernmore
http://www.vipassana.com/audio_files/bvra.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Meditation on Loving-Kindness (Metta) - Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... ess_metta/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Practice of Metta in Insight Meditation
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... tation.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el365.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Loving-kindness
http://www.buddhanet.net/metta.htmindness" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; meditation

Mettāhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett%C4%81

The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta) As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon compiled and translated by Ñanamoli Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el007.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Audio ~ The Gift of Metta – Loving-kindness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=e ... re=related" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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thecap
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by thecap » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:43 pm

What's wrong with the meditations Buddha himself taught? :)

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cooran
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:00 pm

Hello thecap,

Can you write more fully on what your understanding is?

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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bodom
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:07 pm

If you arent doing vipassana any other meditation you are doing would be considered samatha. You might also want to check out this thread.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3019" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali: :anjali:
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 no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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cooran
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:58 pm

Hello Bodom, all,
Bodom said: If you arent doing vipassana any other meditation you are doing would be considered samatha.
I think I agree with Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Ajahn Tiradhammo on this:

The Path of Concentration & Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Many people tell us that the Buddha taught two different types of meditation -- mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. Mindfulness meditation, they say, is the direct path, while concentration practice is the scenic route that you take at your own risk because it's very easy to get caught there and you may never get out. But when you actually look at what the Buddha taught, he never separates these two practices.
http://www.buddhacommunity.org/concentration1.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Practice of Metta in Insight Meditation by Ajahn Tiradhammo
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... tation.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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bodom
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:06 pm

I think i agree with Ajahn Chah as well.

Ajahn Chah

Q:You have said that samatha and vipassana or concentration and insight are the same. Could you explain this further?

Answer: It is quite simple. Concentration (samatha)and wisdom (vipassana)work together. First the mind becomes still by holding on to a meditation object. It is quiet only while you are sitting with your eyes closed. This is samatha and eventually this samadhi-base is the cause for wisdom or vipassana to arise. Then the mind is still whether you sit with your eyes closed or walk around in a busy city. It's like this. Once you were a child. Now you are an adult. Are the child and the adult the same person? You can say that they are, or looking at it another way, you can say that they are different. In this way samatha and vipassana could also be looked at as separate. Or it is like food and feces. Food and feces could be called the same and they can be called different. Don't just believe what I say, do your practice and see for yourself.
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 no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:24 pm

If one were to reach jhana and would not come out and use that jhana as the basis for insight to arise would that still be considered vipassana, samatha or both? If one were to stay stuck in that jhana and not come out to practice vipassana when and were would insight arise? I think its a very fine line between the two.

As one Sri Lankan meditation master explains, "A jhana attainer may remain attached to the bliss and calm of the jhanas and fail to take up insight meditation. Here one should specially bear in mind that not only jhanic bliss but even birth in the Brahma-worlds… is impermanent. The aim of Buddhism is not serenity but the peace of… Nibbana, which is attainable only through insight-wisdom. Hence one should devote oneself to insight meditation" (Ven. Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera, The Seven Contemplations of Insight, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1997, p. 129).

:anjali:
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 no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:00 pm

After all the Buddha attained and mastered all the jhanas including the immaterials under his first two teachers and still did not reach nibbana. Where is the insight in jhana?

:anjali:
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 no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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cooran
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:20 pm

yuuki wrote:I'm still in the middle of getting educated about vipassana meditation (and whether I want to do it at all), and I'd like to put that whole issue aside and ask: if you aren't doing vipassana meditation, then what meditation instructions (if any) are you following or inspired by?

Right now my meditation is a mixture of just resting and trying to calm the mind.

When I'm resting I just relax and don't try to "accomplish" anything.

When I'm calming the mind I generally do things to alleviate stress in the body or in my feelings, and try to inject positive qualities into the breath.

Great thanks to everyone!
Head & Heart Together - Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma-viharas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
If you get your head and your heart to respect each other, they can take each other far. Your heart needs the help of your head to generate and act on more skillful emotions. Your head needs your heart to remind you that what's really important in life is putting an end to suffering. When they learn how to work together, they can make your human mind into an unlimited brahma-mind. And more: They can master the causes of happiness to the point where they transcend themselves, touching an uncaused dimension that the head can't encompass, and a happiness so true that the heart has no further need for desire.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... heart.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

yuuki
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:21 am

Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by yuuki » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:52 am

acinteyyo wrote:are you mindful and/or do you concentrate on a certain meditationobject like the breath or something else?
I'm a little reluctant to touch on mindfulness, given that some teachers say samma sati is remembering what you need to remember to get your chosen task done. And then we have the teachers that say samma sati is insight meditation, with noting etc.

I do focus on the breath, or when I have difficulty calming down I work on metta or chant the dhammapada.
acinteyyo wrote:Do you notice what happens and/or do you know or try to know any thought that comes by?
I generally look for the effects of what I am doing, but I usually avoid thoughts that might lead me off track.
acinteyyo wrote:Do you try not to be distracted by content of senses and thoughts but concentrate to examine the nature of phenomena?
I don't examine the nature of phenomena much, other than trying to find specific causes that might help me calm the mind
acinteyyo wrote:Is the mind getting calm instead of agitated?
Sometimes I get calm, but not anything I would classify as an altered state of consciousness :)
acinteyyo wrote:Do you let go of things or try to let go?
I don't usually try to let go until I see some kind of stress, I guess? The biggest thing I struggle to let go of is my posture. I'm always trying to flex the right muscles so that I can get into the right posture. It's very distracting!
acinteyyo wrote:Do you learn something about the nature of phenomena, its impermanents and/or its unpleasantness and/or its emptiness of a self?
No. The result of my practice is usually a sense of well-being.
cooran wrote:You may like to make Metta meditation your main practice – it is an effective vehicle leading to Liberation.
I'm really into the brahma-viharas! I had an interesting experience with metta before I got started with Buddhism, and I think it's why I'm a Buddhist today. It was interesting because I felt that I sort of opened up to the world, and nothing seemed in disagreement or contradiction. It wasn't like I was detached or ignoring problems, but rather whenever there was a problem my mind would immediately look for win-win solutions. After learning some Buddhism I looked back and realized that for many days the hindrances had been absent, which is mentioned as an effect of jhana-like states.

Are jhana and metta separate experiences, or is metta enough to produce jhana experiences?

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Cittasanto
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:22 am

yuuki wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:are you mindful and/or do you concentrate on a certain meditationobject like the breath or something else?
I'm a little reluctant to touch on mindfulness, given that some teachers say samma sati is remembering what you need to remember to get your chosen task done. And then we have the teachers that say samma sati is insight meditation, with noting etc.
who says mindfulness is noting?

noting is a method for developing insight and mindfulness, not mindfulness itself.
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But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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cooran
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by cooran » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:23 am

Hello yuuki,
yuuki said: Are jhana and metta separate experiences, or is metta enough to produce jhana experiences?
You might be interested in acquiring these mp3's of a Retreat on Metta and Jhanas from the Bhavana Society:

Jhana Meditation Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... editation/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Ben
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Post by Ben » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:34 am

Hi Yuuki
yuuki wrote:if you aren't doing vipassana meditation, then what meditation instructions (if any) are you following or inspired by?
Its hard to imagine because i've been practicing vipassana for so long. But in answering your question, I woul practice the samatha variant of anapana-sati as per my teacher's instructions. A teacher within our tradition, Saya Thet Gyi, apparently practiced samatha variant of anapana-sati under the guidance of Venerable Ledi Sayadaw for seven years before moving on to Vipassana.
metta

Ben
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