My reason for subscribe is that I would like to get some guidance about my anapana practice.
I will be going in july at the Pa Auk forest monastery for 2 month, and so I have started practicing anapanasati from the instruction I found in the Pa Auk Sayadaw's book Know and seeing, the book "Practiting the janas" by Tina Rasmussen, And videos and books from Shaila Catherine.
I've been practicing this way with this technique for maybe 3 weeks. Before that I was doing kind of the same thing(mixed with vipassana Goenka), but my "anapana spot" was on the upper nose, so it was out of the zone between the nostril and the upper lips, so I decided to change my spot now so I won't have to start on a "bad basis" when arriving at the monastery. It was kind of hard at the beggining cause my previous spot was very sensitive and felt very strong and felt deeper, and kind of "masking" the sensation of breath on the nostrils. At some point I was forced to concentrate a lot to know if the spot I was feeling was the nostril or the upper nose, since both seemed to melt one into another.
But it is beggining to get better, and I am beggining to get the same kind of sensation I had in the upper nose in the "right zone". My question is about those sensations.
I've been reading many time about not focusing on the sensations of the breath, but the "conceptual breathe", as it is what produces concentration. This topic helped me understand a little:
This video of Shaila Catherine seems to be talking about the same thing :cjmacie wrote: ↑Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:49 pmTranslation as "conceptual" is problematic here, as what happens is that in the experience of concentrating, of trying to hold fixed on the subtle touch of the breath (at the upper-lip / opening of the nostril area, or a kasina, etc.) the perception of the object transforms -- all by itself by virtue of the fixation and how the mind functions -- into a mental counterpart. One doesn't "leave" the breath for a different object, but the experience of the breath transforms, gradually, into a purely mental object, a still mental presence, as the breath was being focused on such that it became ever more even and still.zan wrote:I'm reading "Manual of Insight" by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw and on page 130, in speaking about jhana compared to pure insight meditation he writes:
"The only difference is that observation of the conceptual form of the breath produces tranquility, while attention to its touch and movement produces insight."
What does he mean by this?
I assume by "conceptual form of the breath" he is referencing the Visuddhimagga/commentary approach to anapanasati where one leaves the breath itself and takes it's nimitta, in the form of a mental light, instead as the object to be absorbed with and enter jhana. So in tranquility meditation one enters jhana with the concept of the breath in the form of a nimitta and in vipassana one stays with the touch and movement of the breath directly and practices insight. Does this sound like I understand correctly?
As it -- the "counterpart" mental representation (transformation of breath sensation) -- becomes stronger, more centered and "secluding" from all else, it provides a locus into which the mind can fixedly absorb -- into its own fabrication, the nimitta evolved, from the fixedly attended sensory object; it can't so steadily "fix" tranquility in external sensations themselves as they're unstable, changing. In kasina usage, creating a uniform, extended field as object, it's formed to be as close to motionless as possible. The mind gives it (as well as the even, subtle breath) the fixedness.
Mental object but having root in relatively substantive sensory experience -- not "concept" in the sense of pure mental abstraction, s/t of observed external phenomena but often, especially in the Western highly abstract mind, an abstraction of other abstractions. Not concept like that. I doubt that Mahasi used a Burmese term intended with that kind of meaning as used in the West.
The even, subtle breath (or even, extended kasina; or uniform and unbounded metta, etc.) is highly refined -- hence "fine-material" for rupa. Mahasi is describing, on the one hand, the jhana form of samadhi. And different, on the other hand, the sensations of rising and falling of the abdomen with (abdominal) breathing as much coarser, more complicated and dynamic -- not suitable for fixed concentration, but perfect for moment-to-moment following ("noting"), developing into khanika samadhi form of concentration to support insight / vipassana. Sense-door sensations are unstable, changing, and vipassana studies them, holding each momentary phenomena briefly "fixed" to see through clearly by the momentary / khanika concentration.
I'm fairly confident that's what's meant, contrasting "samadhi-as-vehicle" practice with "vipassana-as-vehicle" practice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBXx4M4 ... e&t=29m42s (see from the time of the link, 29m42, to around 33:00)
Everyone seems to says that you begin with the sensations because that's all there is in the beggining, and it evolves into something else.
Now I am experiencing a sensation which begins to stabilize between the right nostril and the upper lip(after moving countless times through all the prescribed area). It is a sensation that seems "thinner", like underlying the physical sensation. It is well localized but yet it doesn't seem to come from any physical phenomena. I can feel the physical breathe superimposed above this sensation, but this isn't the physical sensation, it is something more stable, which seems to be persistent, that I can feel during the in breath, during the out breath, and even when there is no breathe, in the pause between the in and out breathe.
So my question is: is this sensation the one I should be focused on when I meditate, rather than the physical passage of air? Is it the beggining of what cjmacie is calling the "mental counterpart representation of breathe"?
And I have a second question if someone here knows specifically the Pa Auk Sayadaw method: this sensation is felt as a "zone", meaning an area. And the the Tina Rasmussen's book, it is called the anapana "spot", it makes me feel like it should be like a precise point rather than a area. Any insight on this?
Thank you very much for reading me, have a very good day!