Anapana meditation in 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.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by Goofaholix » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:23 pm

stevenpaul wrote:If we bring ourselves back to the breath, rigorously focusing away from any and all distractions, we are cultivating samadhi. On the other hand, if we allow attention to be pulled towards distractions as they arise, equanimously observing them, noting or labeling if we choose to, & then return to the breath, we are cultivating sati.
You said "we allow attention to be pulled towards distractions", can you see the freudian slip there?

In a vipassana approach nothing is a distration, anything and everything that arises is a worthy object of attention, an opportunity for learning.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

rowyourboat
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by rowyourboat » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Vipassana happens when we focus on the impermanence of the object of observation. Samatha, when we simply focus on the object.
vipassana happens when we a continually aware of one of the the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) of the object, rather than its color, quality, shape, texture etc.
Vipassana happens when we have 'clear comprehension' (sampajanna-of arising and passing away) along with mindfulness. If it is mindfulness alone, then it is samatha.

So any object can be used as a vipassana or samatha object.

Both samatha and vipassana are like two wheels of the noble eightfold path, it has been said in the suttas.

See also this sutta about the need for both samatha and vipassana:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

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& Upekkha

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Noah
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by Noah » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:25 am

This thread is great, I have embraced meditation practice after a long time of being a Buddhist and just reading suttas, dhamma texts and moral practice. I have decided to follow the Anapanasati Sutta to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness (frames of reference). I thought I might share here some great resources-

The suttas :P
6 part Anapanasati Retreat talks by: Viveka available free at FreeBuddhistAudio.com
The Wings to Awakening by: Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Thanks again for this thread- you guys rock! :)
Evil is caused by and is the cause of future suffering, abandon at all costs! Cultivate virtuous qualities and live the happy life! Just as all wise human endeavors, from Physics to Philosophy, approach the Dhamma; be fearless in your reverence for it- The time for the True Law is yet to dawn in the west!! :D

stevenpaul
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by stevenpaul » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:49 am

Goofaholix wrote: You said "we allow attention to be pulled towards distractions", can you see the freudian slip there?

In a vipassana approach nothing is a distraction, anything and everything that arises is a worthy object of attention, an opportunity for learning.
Yes, I agree 100%. I was trying to say that we take the breath as our primary focus in anapana meditation, and the non-breath arisings (which I termed rightly or wrongly "distractions") can then be taken as mini objects of meditation. In a Vipassana approach, then, we would turn to those non-breath arisings as a temporary new object of meditation for a given time (the parameters of which are a whole other topic), then subsequently return to our initial and indeed primary object of focus, the breath. Contrastingly, in a samadhi-type meditation on the breath, we focus away from non-breath arisings, returning to the breath as soon as we catch ourselves losing perception of it.

The genius of Vipassana is that nothing--no emotion however mundane, base, or ignoble, no verbalization in the mind's ear, no image in the mind's eye, no craving, however lewd or unconscionable--is unworthy of objective, scientific attention. Vipassana is thus the ultimate equal opportunity institution.

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reflection
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by reflection » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:31 pm

Hi,

Obviously you see it as different training methods. I don't agree on that. To me they are faculties of the mind, not trainings. When you focus on the breath, both samadhi and vipassana are needed and trained. As may be obvious from experience, you can't have a still and sharp mind without knowing how to do so, so samadhi requires vipassana. On the other hand, you can't have true insights without a sharp mindful mind. A dull mind just won't see the way things are, so vipassana also requires samadhi. So, the two are supporting eachother and are not separate.

In this debate, this dhammapada verse is often quoted:
There is no meditative concentration
for him who lacks insight,
and no insight for him
who lacks meditative concentration.
He in whom are found both
meditative concentration and insight,
indeed, is close to Nibbana.
http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/dhammapada-25.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ajahn Chah likened it to a stick. Samadhi is one end of the stick, vipassana is the other end. You can't have one end without the other. When you pick up the stick (meditate), you will have both ends. I'd compare it with glasses; they need both a frame (vipassana) and a lens (samadhi), but you can't use glasses when they are just a lens or just a frame.

It is true that there may be different ways of meditating, but to me it is wrong to call one vipassana and the other samadhi.

With metta,
Reflection

stevenpaul
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by stevenpaul » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:27 am

reflection wrote:Hi,

Obviously you see it as different training methods. I don't agree on that. To me they are faculties of the mind, not trainings. When you focus on the breath, both samadhi and vipassana are needed and trained. As may be obvious from experience, you can't have a still and sharp mind without knowing how to do so, so samadhi requires vipassana. On the other hand, you can't have true insights without a sharp mindful mind. A dull mind just won't see the way things are, so vipassana also requires samadhi. So, the two are supporting each other and are not separate.
That's a very interesting point you make: Samadhi is contingent on sati and sati is contigent upon samadhi. You can't really have one without the other. When we are trying to develop a deep samadhi, we must exercise sati as well. In the cultivation of samadhi, sati is used to let us know when we've wondered off from the object of focus. Likewise, when we are cultivating sati (which I assume is the essence of Vipassana), we need samadhi to focus our mental resources on the Vipassana practice. Thus, to cultivate one is to cultivate the other. I see that, but at the same time, samadhi development is clearly indicated as a separate practice my many of the major teachers. S. N. Goenka, for instance, has his students practice Anapanasati for the first three days of his ten-day retreats and thinks of it as a unique, distinct practice wholly apart from Vipassana, which only begins on day 4. He states firmly that all the Anapanasati in the world will not promote insight into anicca, anatta, and dukkha--that Vipassana is needed for that. According to Goenka, Anapanasati is only good for developing concentration, which can then be applied to Vipassana (which for him is body sweeping). Shinzen Young also regards Anapanasati as a concentration building exercise, and little more. It seems clear that there are ways to integrate Vipassana into Anapanasati, some of which I've discovered in this thread, but many notable teachers regard them as separate, even unrelated.

"Concentration practices are insufficient for realizing insight into impermanence, even with the concomitant undercurrent of mindfulness." That is the assumption I have been working under, being the view transmitted to me by the aforementioned teachers, if I understand them accurately. If anyone disagrees with that quite fundamental assumption, I'd love to hear their case. I think it would be just great if concentration practices could lead to meaningful, permanent insight, as they are relatively straightforward to understand, practice, and teach. I just thought it didn't work that way.

Thanks again to all for the helpful discussion.

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reflection
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by reflection » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:33 am

We could quote 20 teachers and 40 suttas, but it won't get us closer to finding out how thinks work. As the old Zen saying states, those are only fingers pointing to the moon. Maybe some are not pointing to the moon, but we can only find out if we look at where they are pointing.

What I mean with this, -as I've said in my first post in this topic- that it is important to base our views on our own experience of meditation. Of course, the pointing fingers can be useful, and they can support the point we try to make, but don't base your entire view upon it. So what do you experience? If you feel the two are separate, go with that. If not, then don't.

My experience is the latter of the two. These are some examples of how in my meditation I've experienced the link between samatha/vipassana:
  • Developing concentration, the mind will lose the feelings of the body. With this experience you can see non-self of the body. Also how the body is suffering because without it, there is more peace.
  • Also, toughts will gradually fade away all by themselves with deeper concentration. This way, non-self of thoughts becomes much more obvious than when you let them talk. And knowing this, concentration becomes more easy.
  • With even deeper concentration, the mind itself will focus on the breath once it loses it. 'You' don't need to do it anymore, it becomes a natural process, because the mind is drawn towards the peace. The mind will start to handle distractions all by itself. This is the start of seeing non-self of volitions/will. The other way around: Embracing this insight makes concentration more easy because you can let go more easily.
  • Even the last bodily feeling of the breath can disappear and the mind will only be left with mind-consciousness. This is a great way of starting to see what the mind actually is.
  • In short, meditation comes down to knowing how to deal with the 5 hindrances. If there is no peace, one or more of the hindrances is present. You can often see which one, but only if you overcome this hindrance, it becomes clear how it actually worked. Next time it will be a bit easier to find the way around the hindrance. Again samadhi->vipassana->samadhi.
Therefore, what you still call 'concentration practice' is also 'insight practice', or at least to me. One book that teaches a similar view in much detail is Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm.


From the anapanasati sutta, which some people see as 'only samatha'
He who sees with discernment the abandoning of greed & distress is one who watches carefully with equanimity
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


With metta,
Reflection

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daverupa
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by daverupa » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:11 pm

stevenpaul wrote:S. N. Goenka... states firmly that all the Anapanasati in the world will not promote insight into anicca, anatta, and dukkha--that Vipassana is needed for that. According to Goenka, Anapanasati is only good for developing concentration, which can then be applied to Vipassana (which for him is body sweeping). Shinzen Young also regards Anapanasati as a concentration building exercise, and little more..."Concentration practices are insufficient for realizing insight into impermanence, even with the concomitant undercurrent of mindfulness." That is the assumption I have been working under, being the view transmitted to me by the aforementioned teachers, if I understand them accurately. If anyone disagrees with that quite fundamental assumption, I'd love to hear their case.
"Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, brings the four frames of reference to their culmination. The four frames of reference, when developed & pursued, bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination. The seven factors for awakening, when developed & pursued, bring clear knowing & release to their culmination."

Anapanasati Sutta
  • "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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tiltbillings
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:39 pm

Interesting. I have heard from the likes of Joseph Goldstein and Munidinra-ji (who learned directly from Mahasi Sayadaw) more than once that mindfulness of breathing is excellent as a beginning practice and is more than capable of taking one to awakening.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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patipatti
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by patipatti » Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:27 pm

Greetings,

This may be of interest:

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn ... armony.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A HONED AND HEAVY AX; Samatha and Vipassaná in Harmony

:candle: :juggling: :candle:
How do you practice taking care of each other? Here I am!

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bodom
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by bodom » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:57 pm

The Secret of Breathing
by Bhante Gunaratana

I believe that we can find the entire truth of suffering within breathing. Even if you have no other practice, breathing itself can be enough to awaken you to the reality of suffering. You may ask: "How can that be? How can there be any suffering in a simple and automatic act like breathing?"

Let us look deeper. To begin with, I would like to ask you to stop breathing for ten minutes! I don't think anybody can do that. Now that I have your attention, let's consider the breathing process in some detail....
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... breathing/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

: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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marc108
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by marc108 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:37 am

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#warrior" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This is how these two processes — the stilling and the understanding — help each other. The quieter you are, the more you can see; the more you can see, the more you're able to cut through the subtle disturbances that keep the mind from being quiet. This is why there's no such thing as a separate tranquility technique or a separate vipassana technique. Any technique you follow, anything you will the mind into focusing on or doing: That's a concentration technique. You can "do" concentration; you can't "do" insight. Insight is something that arises as the mind gets still, and often it's unexpected. You can't map it out saying, "First you're going to gain insight into dependent co-arising and then into not-self." These things vary from person to person — what you happen to notice and question as you're doing your work.
Bhante Gunaratana - What is samatha-vipassana?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaFOjJtEd2g" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESQOi9djyaA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://santipada.org/aswiftpairofmessengers/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Seren­ity and insight are the two great wings of Bud­dhist med­i­ta­tion. They each have a spe­cial role to play in the path to Awak­en­ing. While some mod­ern approaches seek to mar­gin­al­ize seren­ity in favor of ‘dry’ insight, the Buddha’s own dis­courses place seren­ity right at the cen­ter of the path. This book col­lects vir­tu­ally all the sig­nif­i­cant pas­sages on this topic that are found in the early dis­courses, care­fully elu­ci­dated for the mod­ern reader.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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reflection
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Re: Anapana meditation in Vipassana

Post by reflection » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:47 pm

Even more youtube: ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSVQhhEt ... re=related" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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