Ben wrote:I have been utilising the anicca characteristic of sensation (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral) as a meditation object for nearly 3 decades. I can assure you, it is far easier observing painful sensation with objective awareness than it is for pleasant sensation.
Without proper instruction, one can confuse the actual sensation with one's mental reaction to it or the some sapparently causal external stimulus. For many people, vedananupassana, can be an extremely efficacious approach.
interesting. that makes sense. the number of teachers i've heard say this (not to mention it's in the suttas more or less) points to it being a valid practice. could you elaborate on technique? mental process?
I practice under the guidance of my teacher, SN Goenka and his teacher Sayagi U Ba Khin.
If you have the opportunity - I recommend that you attend a ten day course at one of SN Goenka's or U Ba Khin's centres so that you can learn this particular approach and develop some depth of practice as a result of meditating continuously in a supportive environment.
The format of the ten day course is that the first 3.5 days is devoted to practicing anapana to develop samadhi (concentration/calm). With greater samadhi one's mental acquity becomes heightened and better able to discern subtle physical and mental phenomena. In the afternoon of Day 4, one switches one's attention to the sensations on and in one's own body. One utilizes a 'scanning technique' to observe the many and varied sensations occuring. Initially on the body and then in time, inside the body. In later stages the 'scanning motion' is later dispensed with altogether. From day 4, meditators are asked to remain within the meditation hall, to not open their hands, or move their legs or open their eyes for for three one-hour meditation sessions. This is to assist in developing skill in dealing with painful sensations as they arise and pass away. However, if one cannot sit still or can't remain with their eyes closed for the entire period - its not a big deal.
On Day 10 one learns metta bhavana and incorprates that into the practice.
Of course the retreat begins with refuge and the taking of precepts and ends with the sharing of merits.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725Compassionate Hands Foundation
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