Samma wrote:... 32 parts is essentially a foulness contemplation, as those are the parts that tend to break down, get diseased, etc.
Good point, that's something Kabat-Zinn avoids talking about - doesn't want to scare his patients off on the first day
His approach seems to be concentrating on "no self"... "the pain is not you"... and impermanence... "the pain won't last for ever'... But I can see how meditating on foulness might break down the attachment to self!
Thanks for the fascinating link, Samma. I found the following section most useful to this discussion:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patikulama ... templation
The 'sack of beans metaphor' is a difficult one for me to process. The human body is not open at both ends (at least not in a way in which the 'beans' can pour out for your inspection!) It seems to me that by forcing you to pour out the beans, the Buddha is asking you to *really* see them, it's no use just feeling them in the sack, or (worse) just looking at the sack and imagining the beans in there. So, in regards to your body organs, I don't see that it's any use vaguely seeing them ... you need to *really* see them. The only way to really "see" them is through some kind of sensation. For instance, the sensation of pain or discomfort is as immediate and clear as the sensation of seeing. The quote from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (DN 22) seems to support these surmises, and Kabat-Zinn's general approach.
Visuddhimagga also mentions this contemplation as suitable for concentration...
I just don't see it... In anapanasati you have 'something obvious' to concentrate on. You don't have to 'go looking' for the breath, or wonder what to do if it stops or changes 'cause it doesn't stop or change (in a drastic way...) With a body sensation, think an itch, or a sore knee in meditation, you are dealing with something infrequent and random, how can you, consistently, concentrate on these?
Kabat-Zinn asks you to systematically focus on different parts of the body, "toes, now ankles, now calves..." But you are then doing a lot of work, moving attention, seeing if something is there, disappointed if there isn't, excited if there is... all this seems to mitigate against concentration, there's too much going on! It seems more useful as a vipassana exercise, for 'seeing things as they are'.
Unless you consider mental events... any old thoughts... as brain events, I don't see how you can include the brain in meditation. In fact, I don't see how you can "always and for certain" include any internal organ in your meditation. There is pain in your stomach - is it really in your stomach, or in your kidney, intestine, oesophagus, or what? A superb doctor might be able to pin-point the organ every time, but even then isn't it the *sensation* and not the organ that should be subject of meditation?
The brain doesn't feel pain, doesn't feel discomfort, doesn't feel anything, so how can it be a part of meditation, unless you define it as the "organ of the sixth sense" and say that thoughts are its feelings, but I think it's more usual, in Buddhism, to calls these mental events, isn't it?
Does the Buddha distinguish the mind from the brain? Did he think that mental events occurred in the brain?