Author Topic: Aids to anapanasati  (Read 1999 times)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Aids to anapanasati
« on: August 19, 2010, 05:10:28 am »
This thread is to share ideas and experience for techniques which assist with development of mindfulness of breathing practice.

These are the ones I've come across, but I'm sure there are others:
1. Counting techniques ( there are several );
2. Listening to the breath;
3. Following the breath ( from the tip of the nose to the abdomen and back );
4. Guarding the breath ( focussing on the tip of the nose );
5. Deliberately regulating the breath for short periods.

Which have you used, and which have you found most effective?

Spiny

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 11:59:07 am »
On another forum an interesting debate evolved: on one hand, the Anapanasati Sutta reads like an instruction manual for meditation. Here the Buddha is saying this is an important practice that we should develop, and there are specifics guidelines presented. On the other hand, for the reader 2600 years later, there are some seemingly important unanswered questions: eyes open or closed? Focus on the chest, the nose, the nostril, or all of it? My theory: Buddha or his lead disciples SHOWED people how to complete this practice, and the sutta is missing those visual cues because the monks who committed this sutta to memory assumed that the tradition of SHOWING would continue.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 12:06:52 pm »
So the two teachers who have guided my meditation the most:

Jack Kornfield states that we should find one place, any place, in our body where we notice breathing the most, and focus on that place. It might change from sitting to sitting. For me it is the chest rising and falling.

S. N. Goenka says to direct the attention to the small area between my upper lip and my nose. At first I could not find any sensation there, so it seemed a waste of time. But three days of focusing on my upper lip, I was able to count the pores in that space and feel my breath in that 1/2 inch of space. When I switche to Satipatanna, that same intensity of awareness directed to my body was mind-blowing!

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 12:21:23 pm »
My favorite breath focus technique is holding one nostril closed and then the other and counting breaths.  The only problem is when you have a stuffy nose and start blowing bubbles.  It tends to gross people out!   :eek:


This thread is to share ideas and experience for techniques which assist with development of mindfulness of breathing practice.

These are the ones I've come across, but I'm sure there are others:
1. Counting techniques ( there are several );
2. Listening to the breath;
3. Following the breath ( from the tip of the nose to the abdomen and back );
4. Guarding the breath ( focussing on the tip of the nose );
5. Deliberately regulating the breath for short periods.

Which have you used, and which have you found most effective?

Spiny
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 04:28:06 am »
My theory: Buddha or his lead disciples SHOWED people how to complete this practice, and the sutta is missing those visual cues because the monks who committed this sutta to memory assumed that the tradition of SHOWING would continue.

Yes, that could well be the case.  To some extent I think it's a process of trial and error, we put in the time and try different things and eventually find what works.   People with experience can give us useful advice, but IMO we really need to find out for ourselves.
I've meditated with eyes open for years - it works for me.

Spiny

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2010, 04:32:29 am »
Jack Kornfield states that we should find one place, any place, in our body where we notice breathing the most, and focus on that place. It might change from sitting to sitting. For me it is the chest rising and falling.

That sounds like good advice - not getting obsessed with a particular technique but doing what works.
I've recently read Bikkhu Buddhadasa's book "Mindfulness with breathing - a manual for serious beginners", which I found very useful in understanding the Anapanasati sutta, and how to approach the practice.  Also the book by Thich Naht Hanh, "Breathe! You are alive." is very useful and practical.

Spiny

Offline Sunya

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 05:20:27 pm »
I was originally taught 1 only, but I've also tried 3 and 5. Now I personally prefer no words, no numbers, no mudras, no mantras; just mindfulness of in and out and the sensation of nourishment it brings. I want my meditation experience to be as simple and basic as possible without being rigid or mechanized.  I don't like to quantify or enumerate breaths, but I do like to follow them through the body.

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 04:26:53 am »
Abdomen, no counting.

 :buddha:

Metta

Offline ABC

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2010, 12:51:46 pm »
Which have you used, and which have you found most effective?

Abandoning craving. Letting go. Resting the mind naturally in spaciousness, silence & stillness

When the mind does nothing, as the grossest sense objection, the in & out breathing will naturally, without volition, become the sense object of the mind

best wishes

 :fu:
« Last Edit: December 24, 2010, 12:57:18 pm by ABC »
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

Offline catmoon

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Re: Aids to anapanasati
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2010, 09:13:46 pm »
This thread is to share ideas and experience for techniques which assist with development of mindfulness of breathing practice.

These are the ones I've come across, but I'm sure there are others:
1. Counting techniques ( there are several );
2. Listening to the breath;
3. Following the breath ( from the tip of the nose to the abdomen and back );
4. Guarding the breath ( focussing on the tip of the nose );
5. Deliberately regulating the breath for short periods.

Which have you used, and which have you found most effective?

Counting is something  I use whenever I have trouble getting settled, but I usually don't count more than few minutes. Very effective.

I have never tried #2 or #3.

#4 is something that comes highly recommended in the NKT, but I am moving away from the method, as it never seems to lead to deeper absorption. But then the meditations at class are quite short.

#5 would, in my opinion, be just the sort of thing that would mess up meditation, by deliberately creating and focussing on a distraction.

I sometimes follow the breath at the hara, a good technique for relaxation.

I do periodic body checks to see if tension is arising.

If nimitta arises and breath is fine, then I shift from breathing focus to nimitta focus, the path that leads to the jhanas.

Sometimes I will focus on a virtuous image and keep breathing awareness going at the same time.

So many paths.

Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

 


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