The Eyes (Again)

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Do you meditate with your eyes closed or open?

Eyes Open
3
14%
Eyes Closed
15
71%
Other
3
14%
 
Total votes: 21

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:36 am

Ben wrote:Hi Collective

I recommend that you get yourself a copy of Ven Analayo's excellent "Satipatthana: the direct path to realization". Not just because it will answer this question you have, but also because it is an excellent commentary and manual for the Satipatthana Sutta.
Very basically, samatha exercises are those that through a singularity of focus to the exclusion of all others develop concentration, and calm, a unity of mind. Vipassana is 'special insight' that is derived from observing the salient characteristics of phenomena and will lead to the eradication of defilements. For most people, the easiest of the three marks of phenomena to observe is anicca (impermanance). Both samatha (samadhi) and vipassana are required for awakening. Both samatha and vipassana support the development of the othe.
kind regards

Ben
Thank you Ben

So I(we) should practice both?

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Ben
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Ben » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:47 am

Hi Collective.
Yes, its a good idea to do both. I do both.
But many practitioners do only one or the other.
Whichever teacher or method you have confidence in, then follow those instuctions.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:45 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Collective.
Yes, its a good idea to do both. I do both.
But many practitioners do only one or the other.
Whichever teacher or method you have confidence in, then follow those instuctions.
kind regards

Ben
Thank you Ben

Would you recommend I practice Vipassana one morning and Samatah the next morning?

I'm decided to join the harmavajra Kadampa Buddhist Centre near me: Link HKB

I've been told to inform them that I'm not interested in the religious or (and especially) the political side of things - that I only want to get deeper into Vipassana.

I'm hoping it will be beneficial long term

Thanks again
Last edited by Collective on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

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beeblebrox
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by beeblebrox » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:05 pm

I think your skills in samatha probably will make a base for vipassana. I would think that you need a stable, effortless concentration for the latter. I wouldn't know... I haven't had any training for vipassana.

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:24 am

I am a little unsure about how you practice Viapassana and how you practice Samatha. This is how I do it

Vipassana = I focus on the breath and pay attention to everything/anything that arises. I acknowledge the 'sensation' from a neutral stand point, trying not to judge it through my personal biases. I try not to attach what I believe to be right/wrong, or good/bad to the sensation.

Samatha = I focus on the breath totally and utterly. Any sensations that arise I pay no attention to. I medidtate solely on the breath and let anything and everything else that may arise, just pass by with no acknowledgement at all.

Is that correct?

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Ben
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Ben » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:44 am

Hi Collective

If when you are practicing vipassana and your object is sensation, just be aware, just be equanimous. After awhile, with some sensations, you will begin to notice its changing nature. Some gross sensations like pressure or pain may dissolve into finer sensations which have a shimmering quality. Just be aware of it. Try not to relish the pleasure, indifferent to the neutral, or recoil from the unpleasant. Be aware that the old habit pattern of the mind is to react with craving for the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant - just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.
In the beginning, other mental 'stuff', treat as muzak - background noise. Don't try to block it out nor engage with it.
With samatha, the thing is to maintain unbroken bare awareness of the object for longer and longer periods. Trying to maintain unbroken awareness is like trying to grab an eel so don't get despondent nor angry if you feel you're not making much headway. It takes, sometimes, a long time. But every effort is well spent.
All the best,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:59 am

Ben wrote:Hi Collective

If when you are practicing vipassana and your object is sensation, just be aware, just be equanimous. After awhile, with some sensations, you will begin to notice its changing nature. Some gross sensations like pressure or pain may dissolve into finer sensations which have a shimmering quality. Just be aware of it. Try not to relish the pleasure, indifferent to the neutral, or recoil from the unpleasant. Be aware that the old habit pattern of the mind is to react with craving for the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant - just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.
In the beginning, other mental 'stuff', treat as muzak - background noise. Don't try to block it out nor engage with it.
With samatha, the thing is to maintain unbroken bare awareness of the object for longer and longer periods. Trying to maintain unbroken awareness is like trying to grab an eel so don't get despondent nor angry if you feel you're not making much headway. It takes, sometimes, a long time. But every effort is well spent.
All the best,

Ben
Thank you very much Ben

I appreciate your time and effort

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Ben
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Ben » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:03 am

My pleasure.
All the best!

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:44 am

Ben wrote:just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.

Ben
I was wondering about the difference between 'indifference' and 'equanimity' as they both sound similar to me.

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mikenz66
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:07 am

Hi Collective,
Collective wrote: I was wondering about the difference between 'indifference' and 'equanimity' as they both sound similar to me.
http://cultivatingwisdomandcompassion.org/upekkha.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference is the sad and tragic pretense of equanimity. It is a cold distance from a heartfelt sense of life. It is a state of utter isolation. Its impulse is towards superiority. By nature it suffers a scornful, contemptuous reaction to the beauty of the human process. Indifference blocks the potential to engage the love and freedom life has to offer.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el006.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood. But equanimity would not deserve its name if it had to be produced by exertion again and again. In such a case it would surely be weakened and finally defeated by the vicissitudes of life. True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all these severe tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el116.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Equanimity (upekkha) is to be developed to deal with situations where one should admit that it is beyond one's powers to change them. It overcomes worry and useless distraction over affairs which either do not concern one or else cannot be changed by oneself. It is reflected in one's life by an ability to meet difficult situations with tranquillity and undisturbed peace of mind. The advantage to be seen in its development is that it makes one's life more simple by disengaging from useless activity. It is Lord Buddha's medicine for distraction and worry, and its enemies are mere indifference, which is the "near" one; while greed, and its partner resentment, which involve one unskillfully in so many affairs, are its "far" enemies.

:anjali:
Mike

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:18 am

Thank you very much :)

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:37 am

So then, is it accurate to say

Vipassana focuses on the breath whilst acknowledging rising sensations

Samatha focuses on the breath to the exclusion of rising sensations?

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:28 am

I think the best way to get a handle on this is to cut straight to the chase using a direct example/question:

You are practicing Vipassana and a sensation arises

What do you do?

You are practicing Samatha and a sensation arises

What do you do?


Thank you all :)

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Ben
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Ben » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:47 am

Collective wrote:I think the best way to get a handle on this is to cut straight to the chase using a direct example/question:

You are practicing Vipassana and a sensation arises

What do you do?
It depends. For me, sensation is the primary meditation object but I don't jump from one sensation to the other as the next dominant sensory experience. Some forms of vipassana which use sensation as the primary object do recommend to observe the next dominant sensation that impacts on one's experience. If that is what you are doing then just be aware of the sensation while maintaining equanimity towards it. Some teachers will tell you to observe the sensation (or dhamma) one needs to observe its changing characteristic. And you'll find that all sensations change and their change is observable.
What I do is to move through the body in a particular sequence and observe whatever sensations occur with equanimity as my attention moves through different parts of my body so that I can develop sensitivity towards all sensations, subtle as well as the gross. And again, observing the sensation is to be aware of the changing characteristic of the sensation with equanimity.
Collective wrote:You are practicing Samatha and a sensation arises
For the purpose of discussion I will assume that your samatha practice is the breath. If a sensation arises, one continues to maintain continuous awareness of the breath. Essentially, one ignores the sensation unless the sensation is the meditation object of the continuous awareness of the touch of the in-breath and the out-breath.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Collective
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Post by Collective » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:48 pm

Thank you Ben. That was basically the final piece of the jigsaw for me.

It's appreciated.

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