Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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atharva2k
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Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by atharva2k » Sat May 06, 2017 5:19 pm

Hello,
I have recently began following instructions straight from the anapanasati sutta, and would like to ask for a few clarifications. I am only following the first two instructions so far, namely:

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.'

I sit and just breathe. I do not locate the breath anywhere, I only focus on discerning whether the in breath/out breath is long or short. If it is long, I note "long", if it is short I note "short". I play it almost like a game. Is this correct? Also, when should I move onto the next two instructions in the first tetrad? Should it be as soon as my mind is relaxed enough to do the first two steps with ease?

Thanks

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dylanj
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by dylanj » Sat May 06, 2017 8:05 pm

atharva2k wrote:Hello,
I have recently began following instructions straight from the anapanasati sutta, and would like to ask for a few clarifications. I am only following the first two instructions so far, namely:

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.'

I sit and just breathe. I do not locate the breath anywhere, I only focus on discerning whether the in breath/out breath is long or short. If it is long, I note "long", if it is short I note "short". I play it almost like a game. Is this correct? Also, when should I move onto the next two instructions in the first tetrad? Should it be as soon as my mind is relaxed enough to do the first two steps with ease?

Thanks
atharva2k wrote:I am only following the first two instructions so far, namely:
...
Well, firstly, those aren't the first instructions. These are:
Anapanasati Sutta wrote:“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.
atharva2k wrote: I do not locate the breath anywhere, I only focus on discerning whether the in breath/out breath is long or short.
Well, if you're focusing on the breath you must be focusing on it somewhere. Where do you sense the sensation of length? Secondly, I think you should set your awareness down somewhere, whether that be the whole body or a specific part (nostrils or abdomen, generally). This is where things are a little controversial because some say the next step...

[quote="Anapanasati Sutta]He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body’[/quote]

...means that one should focus on the breathing process throughout all parts of the body, others say it is using "body" in the sense of in the satipaṭṭhāna sutta, i.e. "the body in the body" as a synonym for the breath itself, thereby arguing that one should just focus on the air at a specific location, & yet others would instruct one to focus on the breath at one location but not let go of awareness of the body as a whole. Personally I find single-pointedness works better for me. But regardless of the method, this is a mindfulness of body practice. You should be directing your mindfulness at the body in one way or another.
atharva2k" wrote: If it is long, I note "long", if it is short I note "short". I play it almost like a game. Is this correct?
I don't know about playing it like a game, it isn't like that for me...games are exciting, meditation is calming...but by my understanding the noting is correct, yes. This is another controversy, though.
atharva2k" wrote:Also, when should I move onto the next two instructions in the first tetrad? Should it be as soon as my mind is relaxed enough to do the first two steps with ease?
This is where I think you're mistaken. I do not think it's that sequential...you'll notice if you read the whole sutta that the 16 steps are separated into groups of 4 which fall under the 4 satipaṭṭhāna...body, feelings, mind, dhammas. If anything this is the way the sequence goes, with the inner divisions acting as more of a whole...but especially with the first 4 steps, the mindfulness of body section, I do not think you should take them one at a time...look at the fourth step:
Anapanasati Sutta wrote: He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.’
This is very important. It should not be saved for later. You bring up waiting until your mind is 'relaxed enough" before moving onto the next steps...relaxation of body & mind are not so separate, the purpose of the 4th step is to induce relaxation. When you relax the body (itself or in the form of the breath, both of which should be done) you will feel pleasure - both physical & mental - , when you feel pleasure you will grow happy, when you are happy your mind will grow concentrated.

& further, I wouldn't even say it's necessarily a bad idea to try to practice all 16 steps at once, or as the opportunity for each presents itself. For example:
Anapanasati Sutta wrote:“He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in gladdening the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out gladdening the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in concentrating the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out concentrating the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in liberating the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out liberating the mind.’
This is not something that should be "saved for later". This is fundamental to meditation.

The division of 16 steps is a categorization, I think, not a sequence (although the 4 satipaṭṭhāna are sequential in the sense of difficulty). Read the sutta, memorize the steps, sit in meditation & try to apply them. You will see when they're appropriate.
susukhaṃ vata nibbānaṃ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṃ;
asokaṃ virajaṃ khemaṃ,
yattha dukkhaṃ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ panītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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Dmytro
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by Dmytro » Mon May 08, 2017 5:43 am

maranadhammomhi wrote: The division of 16 steps is a categorization, I think, not a sequence.
Yes, indeed.

One has to study other suttas and explanations as well, e.g. compiled by Bhikkhu Nanamoli:
http://www.bps.lk/olib/bp/bp502_part1.html

R1111
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by R1111 » Mon May 08, 2017 2:42 pm

Doing it properly as in the Sutta is quite the training. I have not mastered it. also want to add that not doing evil will lead to alot of joy, Calm and concentration naturally. Further you could start expelling the hindrances, look up Suttas: Fire Aggi Sutta & Nutriment Ahara Sutta, Buddhagosa's commentary to Maha Satipattha Sutta is excellent for understanding those two imo and he also comments on Anapanasati, however in regards to Anapanasati it Seems to me that he is wrong.
Last edited by R1111 on Wed May 10, 2017 7:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

santa100
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by santa100 » Mon May 08, 2017 6:10 pm

atharva2k wrote:I have recently began following instructions straight from the anapanasati sutta, and would like to ask for a few clarifications.
Ven. Buddhadasa's detaild analysis of anapanasati might be helpful: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/anapanasati.pdf

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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by R1111 » Wed May 10, 2017 1:11 am

https://pathpress.wordpress.com/2014/07 ... editation/
Look at this one, it explains it imo.

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Pseudobabble
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by Pseudobabble » Wed May 10, 2017 10:14 am

Came across an interesting post from Modus.Ponens the other day. I make no assertion as to the validity, but it's certainly interesting.

He suggests it is an account of the sequential development of jhana.
Modus.Ponens wrote: Translation from Ajahn Thanissaro. So here it goes:

Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

This develops directed thought.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.'

This develops evaluation.

[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'2 He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'

This sets up mindfullness of the whole body in preparation to the next step.

[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'3 He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming the bodily fabrication.'


This develops rapture.

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.'

This develops pleasure. First jhana achieved.

1-Direct thought
2-Evaluation
3-Happiness
4-Pleasure

[6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.'

This steadies the first jhana.

[7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'4 He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.'

This sets up the next step.


[8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

This stills direct thought and evaluation. Second jhana achieved.

1-Hapiness
2-Pleasure
3-Unification of mind
4-Internal assurance

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.'

This sets up the next step.

[10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.'

This eliminates hapiness and mental pleasure (maybe "satisfying" means to cultivate some kind of contentment and because of this hapiness and mental pleasure fades...). Third jhana achieved.

1-Physical pleasure
2-Equanimity
3-Mindfullness
4-Alertness

[11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.

This steadies the mindfulness.


[12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'


This releases from pleasure and pain. Fourth jhana achieved.

1-Equanimity
2-Mindfullness
3-Neither pleasure nor pain.
I would have put first jhana after [6] rather than [5], but hey ho.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

voitsberg.graz48
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by voitsberg.graz48 » Wed May 10, 2017 3:03 pm

About ANAPANASATI.
I think the translations of the ANAPANASATI SUTTA is not quite right and may lead to wrong practice.
First: I AM BREATHING IN LONG ....AND I KNOW I AM BREATHING IN LONG ETC.
There is no I breathing. Breathing happens by itself. Proof: Who is breathing at night, when the I is sleeping.
So if one practices with this attitude I AM BREATHING that implies that there is an I doing the breathing instead if letting the breathing happening by itself. And there is only an observer observing the breathing.
So a better instruction would be: THERE IS A LONG BREATH COMMING IN, THERE IS A SHORT BREATH COMMING IN
So that takes the I as a doer of the breathing out.
Buddhist teachers stress very much, that one should not try to change the "natural" breathing . But this I consider an "idealistic" attitude. The breathing of most adult people is not "natural" anymore. It is short, shallow and irregular.
So observing the breath "AS IT IS" shows you just how badly you breathe. And what next? Should we leave this wrong breathing
and be a content with just "knowing" it? What`s the benefit if it.
I know Buddhists do not like body exercises. They think sitting and a little walking meditation is enough.
While I was in Suan Mokh I was giving Yoga classes and I could see who necessary exercises are because most people cannot even sit in a way that they don't feel pain after a short while.
Coming back to breathing: Before starting with ANAPANASATI, stretching exercises especially for the thorax should be done so that the tension accumulated over the years could be lowered. Then the breath would flow more freely . Breathing will become longer deeper and more regularly. And with this, the mind becomes calm by itself. I SHALL CALM THE MIND will not be necessary anymore.

voitsberg.graz48
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by voitsberg.graz48 » Wed May 31, 2017 10:27 pm

WALKING AND BREATHING
Don’t search in the scriptures, you will not find anything about how to combine walking and breathing.
I even ask a monk in Bangkok. He never heard about it.
He even said:
“To pay attention to the movements of the feet and at the same time at the breathing, that is too much for the mind.”
But I told him:” With practice, both flow together.
So the mind has more work to do and wanders less.”

Well, how is it done?

1. First, start with the walking as it is done traditionally.
- Right foot – left foot
- 3 phases: lifting – shifting – putting down

2. Now combine movement and breathing
- Each time you lift one foot inhale
When you press the foot down to the floor exhale
Walk slowly so that the breath becomes longer

- 3phases:
While lifting and shifting the right foot inhale
as soon as the right heel touches the floor exhale.
The same with the left foot.
Don’t lift the foot too high and don’t make big steps
otherwise, you might lose balance.

Lamahewage
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by Lamahewage » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:28 pm

this is all wrong.you all are practicing the aanaapaanasati which is not what lord buddha preached.you can find real aanapaanasati in www.puredhamma.net
if anybody can understand sinhalese language can go to www.waharaka.com or www.nirapekshathwayemaga.com

Lamahewage
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by Lamahewage » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:34 pm

lord buddha said practicing aanapasathi will lead to sathipattana which lead to sapthabojjanga which lead to nibbaana.
how can anyone go to nibbana by breathing in and out.
go to www.puredhamma.net to learn true aanapaanasati what lord buddha preached.

gsteinb
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by gsteinb » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:20 pm

Anyone come across this book?

A Handbook for a Perfect Form of Anapanasati Bhavana Meditation by Buddhadasa?

Wondering how it might compare to the A manual for serious beginner's or the Anapanasati tome translated by Venerable Nagasena

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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:37 am

atharva2k wrote:Hello,
I have recently began following instructions straight from the anapanasati sutta, and would like to ask for a few clarifications. I am only following the first two instructions so far, namely:

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.'

I sit and just breathe. I do not locate the breath anywhere, I only focus on discerning whether the in breath/out breath is long or short. If it is long, I note "long", if it is short I note "short". I play it almost like a game. Is this correct? Also, when should I move onto the next two instructions in the first tetrad? Should it be as soon as my mind is relaxed enough to do the first two steps with ease?
Excellent 1 post. The Buddha's instructions are literally being read & followed (rather than embellished with other views & opinions). Well done.

As for moving on to the other steps, this will occur by itself. If knowing/noting the in & out breathing continues, the breathing-body-&-mind will change and the mind will naturally start to discern the breathing more pervasively throughout the body (which is the 3rd step) and the breathing, merely by knowing it, will naturally calm (which is the 4th step).

Therefore, there is no need to move on to other steps. Just keep playing the game. The car being driven is an automatic rather than a manual. There is no need to change any gears. Just turn on the ignition, drive & observe the scenery. Best wishes. :meditate:

DooDoot
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Re: Buddha's Anapasati Instructions

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:06 am

gsteinb wrote:Anyone come across this book? A Handbook for a Perfect Form of Anapanasati Bhavana Meditation by Buddhadasa? Wondering how it might compare to the A manual for serious beginner's or the Anapanasati tome translated by Venerable Nagasena
Obviously, it is incomparable in terms of price, with a US$29.50 used & US$86.20 new price tag. I would avoid paying such money for what is probably an unauthorised translation. Amazon looks like it has many books, such as Secrets of Life, selling for $49.95 (which costs around $4 in Thailand). Looks like tourists & backpackers profiteering on Amazon.

A manual for serious beginner's is an essential guide explaining both the path of progress & the meaning of the sutta, however, like Anapanasati translated by Venerable Nagasena, it offers very little compelling instruction, apart from the clumsy methodology similar to the Visuddhimagga. Therefore, I doubt this 'Perfect Form' would offer anything new or compelling.

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