anapanasati & compassion

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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anapanasati & compassion

Post by kiltro » Mon May 06, 2013 5:15 pm

Hello everyone!
Progressing in my practice of anapanasati, I now often reach a point where the experience of breathing gives me very pleasant sensations.
Then what frequently appens is that pops up an image of a dear one (usally my brother), than rise some thought like "how can let him experience this joy too?"
The question don't get any answer, than also the imege of the person disappears and remains only compassion (something that makes me feel very happy but with a little background of melancholy, and some tears trickle down from my eyes) - don't know if it's the right term
Now if I come back to breath all calms down, if on the other hand I keep the attention on that feeling it begins to grow, grow and than... suddenly decreses. In the latter case however the mind remain a little agitated it becomes more difficult to resume atteniton to the breath for a while.

I'm a beginner so I'm a little confused when reflecting at the end of my meditation.
Plese feel free to give me some explanation/suggestion.
Thank you

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Re: anapanasati & compassion

Post by Mojo » Mon May 06, 2013 5:35 pm

I like this sutta. Perhaps it is fitting for your situation? ... .olen.html
SN 47.19 PTS: S v 168 CDB ii 1648 Sedaka Sutta: The Bamboo Acrobat translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki © 2005–2013 Alternate translation: Thanissaro [The Buddha addressed the monks:] Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat,
setting himself upon his bamboo pole,
addressed his assistant Medakathalika:
"Come you, my dear Medakathalika,
and climbing up the bamboo pole,
stand upon my shoulders." "Okay, master" the assistant Medakathalika
replied to the bamboo acrobat;
and climbing up the bamboo pole
she stood on the master's shoulders. So then the bamboo acrobat said this to his assistant Medakathalika:
"You look after me, my dear Medakathalika, and I'll look after you.
Thus with us looking after one another, guarding one another,
we'll show off our craft, receive some payment,
and safely climb down the bamboo pole." This being said, the assistant Medakathalika said this to the bamboo acrobat:
"That will not do at all, master!
You look after yourself, master, and I will look after myself.
Thus with each of us looking after ourselves, guarding ourselves,
we'll show off our craft, receive some payment,
and safely climb down from the bamboo pole. That's the right way to do it!" [The Buddha said:] Just like the assistant Medakathalika said to her master:
"I will look after myself,"
so should you, monks, practice the establishment of mindfulness.
You should (also) practice the establishment of mindfulness (by saying)
"I will look after others." Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
Looking after others, one looks after oneself. And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
(Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others;
and looking after others, one looks after oneself. Translator's note What a vivid image of insight meditation! The practice of mindfulness requires the focused attention of an acrobat balancing on
a bamboo pole. One lapse, one moment of distraction or carelessness, and he tumbles
to the ground. The picture is one of intensive inner awareness and concentration —
almost a matter of life and death. But the Buddha's parable goes even further, for the safety and well being of the
bamboo acrobat's beloved assistant also hangs upon the master's successful practice
of mindfulness. The story is telling us that ultimately we are responsible for our own balance, and
would be foolish to direct our attention to others while neglecting our own inner
focus. And yet others are directly affected by how well we do this. Insight
meditation is not a selfish undertaking, because the quality of our interaction with all
those around us depends on the degree of our own self-understanding and self-
Sorry for the formatting of my copy/paste. I'm on my cell phone. It might be easier to read from the source directly.

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Re: anapanasati & compassion

Post by daverupa » Mon May 06, 2013 5:47 pm

Perhaps, when these images arise on the back of these feelings, it's important to experience the associated citta-sankhara, and then to calm them. Later, the citta in and of itself can be subject to gladdening, tranquilizing, and calming as well, but the direction to go with anapanasati is towards letting go.

  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: anapanasati & compassion

Post by santa100 » Mon May 06, 2013 6:34 pm

There're times for meditation and there're times for helping others. At the beginning stage of practice, it might be a good idea to keep them separate..

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