The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

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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Mojo
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The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Mojo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:23 am

I'm starting to wonder if Anapanasati is truly appropriate for the householder or if something like The Mahasi Method is better. I've only ever read about jhana, but it seems to me that it would be rather time consuming. I could understand perhaps in a retreat setting, but I just don't know that a 20-60 minutes would be enough time to attain and hold Jhana for any benefit. Wouldn't something like the Mahasi Method be more appropriate for the person with little free time?

Thanks,

Mojo

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:12 am

Mojo wrote:I'm starting to wonder if Anapanasati is truly appropriate for the householder or if something like The Mahasi Method is better. I've only ever read about jhana, but it seems to me that it would be rather time consuming. I could understand perhaps in a retreat setting, but I just don't know that a 20-60 minutes would be enough time to attain and hold Jhana for any benefit. Wouldn't something like the Mahasi Method be more appropriate for the person with little free time?

Thanks,

Mojo
First off, Anapanasati is insight meditation. Secondly, Jhana can absolutely be obtained by a house-holder should one put in the effort, and third, one does not necessarily need Jhana in order to progress through the Anapanasati tetrad - while Jhana is definitely the ultimate expression of Anapanasati, one can make do with access concentration until Jhana is established.

I have nothing against the Mahasi Method, but no approach to meditation is really "easier" than the other. One can spend 30 minutes a day doing either Mahasi or Buddhadasa's technique. It's all about which one allows you to get more out of that 30 minutes.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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daverupa
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by daverupa » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:44 am

Mojo wrote:I just don't know that a 20-60 minutes would be enough time to attain and hold Jhana for any benefit.
Morality and satisampajanna are daily practices that there's nothing but time to do, and which properly form the backbone of anapanasati in the first place. Since jhana isn't required for stream-entry, I'd say a householder has their work cut out for them without worrying about time available for it.

:heart:
  • "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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Mojo
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Mojo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:01 am

Thank you for the clarifications. I did understand anapanasati to be an insight practice - just unsure of the time commitment required for progression. I have spent tome doing breath counting or following meditation, which I understand to be considered a concentration practice, for periods of up to 30 minutes and have never encountered any special states that would correlate to my understanding of jhana.

When I use Insight with a capital I, I am referring specifically to http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassana_movement" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I've read that some consider it dry and others that state it's got it's own type of jhana. Either way, I was just guessing that it would take less time (not effort) to make insight gains due to not frontloading the samatha as in Anapanasati.

Again, this its all just speculation on my part. But in my possibly flawed logic, one simply couldn't expect to make any progress with only 20 min anapanasati sessions.

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Kamran
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Kamran » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:33 am

The main deciding factor for me in the method I choose is the amount of resources available.

I chose Thanissaro Bikhu's method, because he gives daily talks specifically on meditation practice that address the issues you will encounter (not to mention all the translations, and study guides he puts out on http://www.accesstoinsight.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; )

There's a lot of great resources, but I have yet to find anyone else putting out daily talks and to keep the practice going long term it helps to hear a motivational talk every day.

If interested, his talks are organized by theme at: http://www.dhammatalks.org/mp3_collections_index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by Kamran on Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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manas
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by manas » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:33 am

Hi Mojo, these talks might help answer the above question also

http://www.audiodharma.org/series/16/talk/1843/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:35 am

Mojo wrote:Thank you for the clarifications. I did understand anapanasati to be an insight practice - just unsure of the time commitment required for progression. I have spent tome doing breath counting or following meditation, which I understand to be considered a concentration practice, for periods of up to 30 minutes and have never encountered any special states that would correlate to my understanding of jhana.
It does take a while, for sure. I would recommend trying out the Mahasi method and seeing if it does work better for you!
When I use Insight with a capital I, I am referring specifically to http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassana_movement" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I've read that some consider it dry and others that state it's got it's own type of jhana. Either way, I was just guessing that it would take less time (not effort) to make insight gains due to not frontloading the samatha as in Anapanasati.
Mahasi meditation has what are called "Vipassana Jhanas." Buddhadasa or Chah's Jhanas could also be considered Vipassana Jhanas, although they aren't really referred to in that way. Samatha Jhanas are deep, deeep levels of concentration discussed in the Visuddhimagga and other commentaries. Insight is impossible while in these states.
Again, this its all just speculation on my part. But in my possibly flawed logic, one simply couldn't expect to make any progress with only 20 min anapanasati sessions.
I think it's probably best (just my opinion) to try out Mahasi techniques for a while, see where they get you, and maybe make a decision in a month or two. I started in the Mahasi school and only became more interested in Anapanasati once I had a firm foundation in access concentration. That may work well for you too!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Mojo
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Mojo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:25 am

Thank you. Would you recommend specific resources to learning the Mahasi method? Are there other teachers that have flushed out this specific method more than the original instructions while starting true to Mahasi?

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:42 am

Mojo wrote:Thank you. Would you recommend specific resources to learning the Mahasi method? Are there other teachers that have flushed out this specific method more than the original instructions while starting true to Mahasi?
https://www.youtube.com/user/yuttadhammo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu trains in the Mahasi method and has a ton of videos about it.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:12 am

Books by Mahāsi Sayādaw and see "In This Very Life" in my sig.
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Mojo
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Mojo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:12 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Books by Mahāsi Sayādaw and see "In This Very Life" in my sig.
LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Mojo wrote:Thank you. Would you recommend specific resources to learning the Mahasi method? Are there other teachers that have flushed out this specific method more than the original instructions while starting true to Mahasi?
https://www.youtube.com/user/yuttadhammo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu trains in the Mahasi method and has a ton of videos about it.
Thank you both.

:namaste:

Samma
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Samma » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:15 pm

A passage from Sujato, from book A History of Mindfulness:
This difference reflects the orientation of these emerging schools. The Theravadins, with their vipassana emphasis, were more rational, scholastic, urban. The Sarvastivadins were more faith-orientated, emphasizing the unpredictable charisma of the forest sage. A similar distinction is recognizable within the modern Theravada, with the forest monks devoting themselves to samadhi, while their brothers in the city monasteries do dry vipassana. But it is almost inevitable that the rugged earnestness of the forest tradition will become tamed and civilized, and will turn away from practice towards study. Sometimes this only takes a generation or two. And so the later Sarvastivadins went on to develop a vast Abhidhamma commentarial literature, in which, as we shall see in the next chapter, satipatthana became just vipassana.
Indeed, we get the samatha guys (Sujato, etc) that talk about the vipassana movement as an incomplete practice, and you get from the vipassana guys that jhana is unnecessary, takes longer, not as suitable today. They are different traditions, and it is sometimes not easy to see how they might relate to a single path. Regardless, I suspect you'll find that 30min a day is not really enough. You might see what sanghas are nearby to you, and how they practice.

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Mojo
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Mojo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:34 pm

Mojo wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Books by Mahāsi Sayādaw and see "In This Very Life" in my sig.
LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Mojo wrote:Thank you. Would you recommend specific resources to learning the Mahasi method? Are there other teachers that have flushed out this specific method more than the original instructions while starting true to Mahasi?
https://www.youtube.com/user/yuttadhammo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu trains in the Mahasi method and has a ton of videos about it.
Thank you both.

:namaste:
I checked out both resources and like the YouTube presentations.

The method seems kind of chatty. Is Anapanasati as chatty?

Thanks, Jon

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:53 pm

Mojo wrote:I checked out both resources and like the YouTube presentations.

The method seems kind of chatty. Is Anapanasati as chatty?

Thanks, Jon
What do you mean by "chatty?"
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Mojo
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Re: The Householder: Anapanasati vs Insight Meditation

Post by Mojo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:13 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Mojo wrote:I checked out both resources and like the YouTube presentations.

The method seems kind of chatty. Is Anapanasati as chatty?

Thanks, Jon
What do you mean by "chatty?"
Alot of internal dialogue. You note everything. Sound sound sound thinking thinking itch itch itch itch itch pain light odor itch...

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