Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

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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bodom
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by bodom » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:18 pm

PeterB wrote:Morlock I would urge you, and I mean urge, you to talk to a good teacher of anapanasati.
An experienced teacher can make tailor- made suggestions that can make a huge difference.
Its not a guru type thing. Its just receiving instruction from someone that knows this particular subject better than we do.
:thumbsup:

: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 mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:20 pm

PeterB wrote:Morlock I would urge you, and I mean urge, you to talk to a good teacher of anapanasati.
An experienced teacher can make tailor- made suggestions that can make a huge difference.
Its not a guru type thing. Its just receiving instruction from someone that knows this particular subject better than we do.
Thats a good suggestion. All i can find locally are vipasanna groups. Still looking tho.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Kenshou » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:23 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:In the sutta tho the buddha seems to be talking about developing whole body awareness as a samatha method:...
I agree, and this is how I practice. I use anapanasati as a method for developing concentration and whole body-mindfulness, as well as the other frames of reference, and utilize the resulting concentration for working on insight.
I waffle to the point that sensations in the body draw me away from the breath, i guess. Maybe it is just a matter of practice and i thot that experience with another method would translate better to anapanasati.
Okay, here's the thing: I don't think you need to be quite so strict about it. If you're attempting to develop mindfulness of the body, it's okay if you're attention drifts to it. In fact I think in proper proportions it's beneficial. Personally, I use the breath contact-point as what you might say a "perch" for the mind, a place for it to stand on so that it doesn't wander off into too much discursive thought. So the mind stays on that focal point, however, that isn't the sole object of awareness. Attention to the body is also there, as well as to the mind. The focal point is on the breath to prevent too much drifting, but the rest of the mental load goes into mindfulness of everything else.

Then, at a certain point, which I consider the second jhana, when concentration has matured and is quite locked in, the breath can be lost as the focal point and attention shifts to the body as a whole as the primary object. Where the breath was the focal point and the body was being watched in the background, now the body is in full focus and the breath is allowed to be in the background.

Of course, this is all opinion. Point is, I don't believe that ultra-strict focus upon only the breath is necessary. In fact after a certain point it ought to be dropped. However if your mindfulness is in general sort of weak, practicing mindfulness of just the breath is probably a good way to go in developing it. I don't know how long you've been at it, but it does take work. It took me several months to get good at this, but I've found it to be very beneficial.

This section of a work by Thanissaro details pretty much exactly how I've found my practice to work: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 3.html#pre" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Give it a read, maybe?

These are of course merely opinions and suggestions, you know what's best for you more than someone on the internet will.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:26 pm

Kenshou wrote:
Okay, here's the thing: I don't think you need to be quite so strict about it. If you're attempting to develop mindfulness of the body, it's okay if you're attention drifts to it. In fact I think in proper proportions it's beneficial. Personally, I use the breath contact-point as what you might say a "perch" for the mind, a place for it to stand on so that it doesn't wander off into too much discursive thought. So the mind stays on that focal point, however, that isn't the sole object of awareness. Attention to the body is also there, as well as to the mind. The focal point is on the breath to prevent too much drifting, but the rest of the mental load goes into mindfulness of everything else.

Then, at a certain point, which I consider the second jhana, when concentration has matured and is quite locked in, the breath can be lost as the focal point and attention shifts to the body as a whole as the primary object. Where the breath was the focal point and the body was being watched in the background, now the body is in full focus and the breath is allowed to be in the background.

Of course, this is all opinion. Point is, I don't believe that ultra-strict focus upon only the breath is necessary. In fact after a certain point it ought to be dropped. However if your mindfulness is in general sort of weak, practicing mindfulness of just the breath is probably a good way to go in developing it. I don't know how long you've been at it, but it does take work. It took me several months to get good at this, but I've found it to be very beneficial.

This section of a work by Thanissaro details pretty much exactly how I've found my practice to work: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 3.html#pre" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Give it a read, maybe?

These are of course merely opinions and suggestions, you know what's best for you more than someone on the internet will.
This is helpful, thank you :)
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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bodom
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by bodom » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:34 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
PeterB wrote:Morlock I would urge you, and I mean urge, you to talk to a good teacher of anapanasati.
An experienced teacher can make tailor- made suggestions that can make a huge difference.
Its not a guru type thing. Its just receiving instruction from someone that knows this particular subject better than we do.
Thats a good suggestion. All i can find locally are vipasanna groups. Still looking tho.
Out curiousity, what kind of group are you holding out for? I would say a vipassana group would be as good a place as any to learn anapanasati.

: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 mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by PeterB » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:06 pm

So would I.

Brizzy

Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Brizzy » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:47 am

m0rl0ck wrote:I have some experience doing various samatha and other concentrative meditation practices (koan, huatou), have gotten some interesting results doing these and my concentration is probably pretty good. Lately tho i have been feeling that i wanted to expand my meditative horizons. So today i tried some anapanasati with instructions i got from two youtube videos by Bhante Vimalaramsi. A method that he says is directly from the suttas rather than from commentary or particular tradition.
I have to say that just on one sit using this method i feel i got some good results.

My questions are:

1. Anyone else here with similar experience to mine, that is, coming from huatou or koan practice or other samatha practice to the method above? Any advice?

2. What is the consensus on Bhante Vimalaramsi anapanasati methods as compared to others?

Thank you :bow:
I think Bhante Vimalaramsi & Thanissaro Bhikkhu give the best online, detailed analysis of anapanasati. They both seem to speak from experience and both teach the suttas in a practical & accessible way. I have found the downloadable talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu extremely helpful.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/

:smile:

Brizzy

Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Brizzy » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:55 am

jcsuperstar wrote:it's mentioned here

It is a rather strange thing to say. It is said as an aside, and not followed up on. I still think that there is sufficient merit in his teachings for people to listen to him.

I hope that at some stage this comment is followed up.

:smile:

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by christopher::: » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:57 pm

Brizzy wrote:
I think Bhante Vimalaramsi & Thanissaro Bhikkhu give the best online, detailed analysis of anapanasati. They both seem to speak from experience and both teach the suttas in a practical & accessible way. I have found the downloadable talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu extremely helpful.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/

:smile:
Thanks, Brizzy.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

kukuripa
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by kukuripa » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:33 pm

Bhante Vimalaramsi emphasizes Metta,not anapanasati
you might check ajahn brahm,buddhadasa bikku,ayya khema,gil fronsdal, larry rosenberg,....

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:09 pm

kukuripa wrote:Bhante Vimalaramsi emphasizes Metta,not anapanasati
you might check ajahn brahm,buddhadasa bikku,ayya khema,gil fronsdal, larry rosenberg,....
really? take a look at this please The Anapanasati Sutta - A practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing - Bhante Vimalaramsi

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasatisn

Post by quaeineptias » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:01 am

Been practicing the Tranqil Wisdom Insight Meditation for many years now and Ven Vimalaramsi has indeed opened a door to much deeper insights than seemed possible before for me.
I always find it interesting the way communication works today. It seems like the lusteners don't don't think they have any responsibility when a teacher is giving a whole talk. Many like to hang all the responsibility onto the speaker when they don't know him, haven't ever been around him, haven't even tried the practice purely yet. BUT are totally ready to 'throw the baby out with the bath water!' Sad mistake! Especially in this case because in person he doesn't put down anybody. But, I can't stop anyone from hearing that themselves first before sifting out the tremendous value of clear Dhamma he is giving

What I have appreciated so very much are several aspects of training with him. First, since he speaks English as his native language I can really ask any questions I want any time and always have clear complete answers and no beating around the bush! That's priceless. I usually get challenged to find the answer I need and given a few clues.
Second, he doesn't collect followers and "personally" does not claim any 'disciples' like a guru would. I appreciate that too. He is not really "the teacher" in his setup. He is The head guide training others on the fine points of his successful teaching and how it is working.

We can always ask questions and he will always encourage us, just like the Buddha did to his own monks, NOT to ever believe him, but, to SEE FOR OURSELVES and only then believe anything useful. That comes straight out of the texts. He teaches us to practice to reach a level spoken about in the texts called "Knowledge and Vision of How things actually are" (check the Upanissa sutta found on page 553 of the single volume Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi . It's called "Proximate Cause" in his book). And this is the teaching called Transcendental Dependent Origination.

I truly respect that as a monk, he never shares his own level of accomplishment. It wouldn't help ME to know that. What is more important is his ability to evaluate where I am with only 5 simple questions in a very short interview and by my answers tell me my next best step guiding advice to kept me perfectly on track. In eye to eye retreat, we do that every day. In an Online retreat I can work with a guide day to day using the same questions.

To straighten a few things out I read here, there were 8 kinds of monks in the Buddhas training camps, not 4!
This very point proves that an attainment and its fruition did not happen simultaneously. Sotspanas. Sotapanas w fruition. Sakadigamis. Sakadigamis w fruition . Anagamis. Anagamis plus. And Arahat. And Arahat w fruition

Consequently the experience of Nibbana CAN occur 8 times to reach the level of Arahat w fruition. THE VERY FINAL ONE IS THE SUPER-mundane Nibbana . So, yes, there is such a thing as mundane and supermundane Nibbana.

DUSCUSSING YOUR PRACTICE

It is only in modern times that we do not talk to each other about our practice-- we can only imagine how this started but that is irrelevant. Within the original teaching structure that the Buddha, and Venerables Sariputta, and Moggallana set up the suttas tell us that camps Sotapanas did talk with other sotapanas about what they were experiencing as they continued on towards fruition! And the same thing went on. concerning the other levels too. The monks usually only spent time speaking about there practices comparing notes one night each week together through the night. SEE MN128.15

HINDRANCE MANAGEMENT
I understand now that The mismanagement of the hindrances is the primary cause for suffering in some meditation sometimes leading to becoming caught in a place called "'the dark night of the soul' which I have heard about.

But there is no need for this kind of suffering if one has a clear understanding of HOW a hindrance operates. Hindrances need nutriment/food. And that food turns out to be our "personal attention". Remove the food and the hindrance fades away. ( verify here:
MN-22.5. "...have I not stated in many ways how obstructive things are obstruction, and how they are able to obstruct you if you ENGAGE/indulge in them?...

Also go to MN-128 to find 11 kinds of distractions the Bodhisatta experienced during his practicing and HIS SOLUTION which was "....I abandoned it..."

No fight. No pressure. No struggle. Why? Cause once you know how a hindrance works and know the cause you can let go. Next:
The Truth about Vimalaramsi view of Vissudhimaggs

Caodemarte
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:22 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:I'm running out of steam with anapanasati. I have gone back to huatou practice which seems alot more robust to me. This tells me that im probably doing something wrong with anapanasati.

Using a huatou as a method i feel i get pretty powerfully concentrated. With the huatou, there is no real tactile object thats the subject of concentration.

With anapanasati, i waffle around a bit, i think because there is so much tactile input involved. I would still like to investigate anapanasati, but unless i can find a way to narrow the tactile input and field of concentration, i fear my experience with huatou wont translate that well to anapanasati. Anyone have advice on narrowing the field of concentration in anapanasati and still remain true to the method as outlined in the suttas?
Any form of Buddhist meditation is best done with a legitimate teacher. This is especially true of huatou practice where it is strongly emphasized that solo practice is almost impossible and will almost certainly lead one into self-created traps, However, with any form of practice you would be wise to get some personal advice and guidance from a legitimate person, if you are interested in serious practice.

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by CedarTree » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:31 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
PeterB wrote:Morlock I would urge you, and I mean urge, you to talk to a good teacher of anapanasati.
An experienced teacher can make tailor- made suggestions that can make a huge difference.
Its not a guru type thing. Its just receiving instruction from someone that knows this particular subject better than we do.
Thats a good suggestion. All i can find locally are vipasanna groups. Still looking tho.
m0rl0ck, I just commented to say that is the coolest avatar ever lol! :twothumbsup:
Don't hold out on practice!

Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery in America

Ajahn Chah Associated Monasteries

Practice, Practice, Practice

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Caodemarte » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:49 am

bodom wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:A huatou is a question one asks oneself, similar to a koan. Im using the "not locating the breath any particular place" method.....
Huatou was not taught in the Anapanasati sutta. Im not sure why you would reject the nose tip method but not this "koan" meditation which the Buddha did not teach and is not in the suttas. The two are incompatible in my opinion.

:anjali:
What the OP describes does not sound like a huatou (Chinese) or hwadu (Korean) or huatou practice. A huatou is a short phrase or question used in Zen practice, It may be the point of a koan or taken from koan which is a longer story. It may be created by the teacher or student or taken from literature or anywhere. A huatou then is a deep existential question that must be resolved (it is sometimes called a life or death question). It is used just as a koan. It is usually pointless unless done with a qualified teacher's guidance.

I beleive Bikkhu Analayo says in " Satipatthana: the direct path to realization" that there is a similar practice in the commentaries and that according to the Papañcasudani "the difference between simple walking and walking meditation as a Satipatthana is that a meditator keeps in mind the question: "Who goes? Whose is this going?"

"Who am I?" "Who is in charge?" "Who' is doing this?" "Where is Buddha?" "What is this?" are all famous huatou.

In at least some forms of Thai Buddhism, one may be told to silently recite Budo while deeply inquiring "Who is Buddha?" This would be a way to practice a huatou.

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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by m0rl0ck » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:51 am

Caodemarte wrote:
What the OP describes does not sound like a huatou (Chinese) or hwadu (Korean) or huatou practice. A huatou is a short phrase or question used in Zen practice, It may be the point of a koan or taken from koan which is a longer story. It may be created by the teacher or student or taken from literature or anywhere. A huatou then is a deep existential question that must be resolved (it is sometimes called a life or death question). It is used just as a koan. It is usually pointless unless done with a qualified teacher's guidance.

That is how i started. With "who is this?". After a while the question kind of disappears and opens up and becomes tacit and is more of an attitude of inquiry.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

Caodemarte
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Caodemarte » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:11 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:...That is how i started. With "who is this?". After a while the question kind of disappears and opens up and becomes tacit and is more of an attitude of inquiry.
You might want to say that you practice with an attitude of inquiry. Using a specific, technical term like "huatou" in this fashion is confusing. If you are interested in huatou practice I would suggest you find a legitimate teacher. Then you can find out what a huatou is and what the practice is. Correctly practicing by yourself is theoretically possible, but almost never seen in history. It is much like learning to dance by reading a book with no pictures and not listening to music. Again, theoretically possible, but extremely unlikely to work in practice. Whatever you do, good luck!

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bodom
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by bodom » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:14 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
bodom wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:A huatou is a question one asks oneself, similar to a koan. Im using the "not locating the breath any particular place" method.....
Huatou was not taught in the Anapanasati sutta. Im not sure why you would reject the nose tip method but not this "koan" meditation which the Buddha did not teach and is not in the suttas. The two are incompatible in my opinion.

:anjali:
What the OP describes does not sound like a huatou (Chinese) or hwadu (Korean) or huatou practice. A huatou is a short phrase or question used in Zen practice, It may be the point of a koan or taken from koan which is a longer story. It may be created by the teacher or student or taken from literature or anywhere. A huatou then is a deep existential question that must be resolved (it is sometimes called a life or death question). It is used just as a koan. It is usually pointless unless done with a qualified teacher's guidance.

I beleive Bikkhu Analayo says in " Satipatthana: the direct path to realization" that there is a similar practice in the commentaries and that according to the Papañcasudani "the difference between simple walking and walking meditation as a Satipatthana is that a meditator keeps in mind the question: "Who goes? Whose is this going?"

"Who am I?" "Who is in charge?" "Who' is doing this?" "Where is Buddha?" "What is this?" are all famous huatou.

In at least some forms of Thai Buddhism, one may be told to silently recite Budo while deeply inquiring "Who is Buddha?" This would be a way to practice a huatou.
Thank you for this. I remember that excerpt from Analyos book. FYI My last post in this thread was made 7 years ago and I am now a bit more familiar with that sort of practice.

:namaste:
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 mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by m0rl0ck » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:26 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:...That is how i started. With "who is this?". After a while the question kind of disappears and opens up and becomes tacit and is more of an attitude of inquiry.
You might want to say that you practice with an attitude of inquiry. Using a specific, technical term like "huatou" in this fashion is confusing. If you are interested in huatou practice I would suggest you find a legitimate teacher. Then you can find out what a huatou is and what the practice is. Correctly practicing by yourself is theoretically possible, but almost never seen in history. It is much like learning to dance by reading a book with no pictures and not listening to music. Again, theoretically possible, but extremely unlikely to work in practice. Whatever you do, good luck!
I have a teacher who is, and has been guiding me in this :) Thank you for your concern. Actually that may not be entirely accurate, i havent been in contact with him since the last change he made to my practice a couple of years ago, but i had good guidance when it counted.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

Saengnapha
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Re: Meditator with some experience beginning anapanasati

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:23 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:...That is how i started. With "who is this?". After a while the question kind of disappears and opens up and becomes tacit and is more of an attitude of inquiry.
You might want to say that you practice with an attitude of inquiry. Using a specific, technical term like "huatou" in this fashion is confusing. If you are interested in huatou practice I would suggest you find a legitimate teacher. Then you can find out what a huatou is and what the practice is. Correctly practicing by yourself is theoretically possible, but almost never seen in history. It is much like learning to dance by reading a book with no pictures and not listening to music. Again, theoretically possible, but extremely unlikely to work in practice. Whatever you do, good luck!
I have a teacher who is, and has been guiding me in this :) Thank you for your concern. Actually that may not be entirely accurate, i havent been in contact with him since the last change he made to my practice a couple of years ago, but i had good guidance when it counted.
Huatou is a valid lineage practice in Mahayana. To combine it with Vipassana might not be the best of ideas given their essential characteristics. I will say in my own mindfulness practice, the question of 'who is aware' and its variations, do come up. Seems quite natural to me, but the return to the awareness of the present moment and breath, seems primary, and the fact that in the Satipatthana Sutta, Buddha states that this is the direct way to awakening seem good enough for me. Diligence is needed for any practice. Confidence and certainty are marks of any real practice. Only you will know what is working.

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