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Breathing

Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
edited October 2015 in Meditation

Breathing

"When you do anything in meditation, relate it to the breath, for that's the basis of the entire skill we're developing."

"Catching the mind is like catching eels. If you simply jump down into the mud and try to grab hold of them, they'll slip off every which way. You have to find something they like — as when people take a dead dog, put it in a big clay jar and then bury it in the mud. In no time at all the eels come swimming into the jar of their own free will to feed off the dog, and then all you have to do it put your hand over the mouth of the jar and there you are: You've got your eels."

"It's the same with the mind. You have to find something it likes, so make the breath as comfortable as you can, to the point where it feels good throughout the whole body. The mind likes comfort, so it'll come of its own free will, and then it's easy to catch hold of it."

"You have to know the breath at all times, and then happiness will be yours. The human state, the heavenly state, and nibbana are all here in the breath. If you get carried away with other things, happiness will slip through your fingers, so you have to learn how to observe the in-and-out breath at all times. Pay attention to how it's getting along — don't leave it to fend for itself. When you know its way of life — sitting, standing, walking, everything — then you can get what you want from it. The body will be light, the mind at ease, happy at all times."

"The breath can take you all the way to nibbana, you know."

~Ajaan Fuang Jotiko

Source: Awareness Itself

Chapter: Breathing

Direct link:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/fuang/itself.html#breath

ShoshinInvincible_summerEarthninjaNamada

Comments

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Eels and a dead dog... I could of thought of other analogies for the breath!
    Thanks for sharing, the breath is a exquisite teacher.

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    I find Ajahn Fuang's meditation technique (and, by extension, Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Ajahn Lee) to be quite formidable. I use it on and off depending on if I feel need to sharpen my concentration and my "knowledge" of the breath... which I guess technically should be all the time but I also like to do Mahasi-style stuff too..

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    So in a nutshell when life gets tough and the S hits the F what Ajaan Fuang Jotiko is saying is....... "Take a breather"

    I like it, very practical and down to earth.....Never leave home without your breath.... :)

    dantepw
  • @Earthninja

    Well, that's part of the Thai culture. And since there were mostly Thai listening to his discourse, it only makes sense to reference some aspect of that culture, so that all listening could relate.

    Earthninja
  • howhow Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @Tony_A_Simien
    "When you do anything in meditation, relate it to the breath, for that's the basis of the entire skill we're developing."

    Hmmmmm....yes & no

    The breath is an essential grounding practice for many forms of meditation but more for it's ability to counter challenge the supremacy of anyone's myopic mentality of the moment, than anything else.
    It is simply a sensation that calls to attention that there is an existence beyond our own mental imaginings. One of six actually.

    I mention this only because eventually when a meditation practice evolves, the sensations of the breath should no more dominate the other sense gates, than our thoughts formally did.

    It's quite acceptable to have breath attention be a starting practice or a returning practice each time some deliberate manipulation of the sense gates occurs but not so for when all the sense gate are getting equal standing on the meditative stage. To give any sense gate any special attention at this point is simply a hindrance.

    lobsterpegembaraInvincible_summer
  • The breath is an essential grounding practice

    Indeed.
    We could as easily and for some usefully focus on the sensation of contact with the ground BUT or should that be butt, the Buddhist Way is grounded on the breath.
    Later we grind and ground on ... as you say ...

    OM MANI PEME HUM
    as I like to say under my breath ... <3

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @how

    I don't disagree.

    I feel it all depends upon the one practicing.

    For some, their attention may naturally flow towards the breath, without intention, because of previous training. It has become habitual.

    In this case, I feel it's perfectly acceptable. Because it's not forced. Awareness is naturally flowing but it just naturally flows to the breath more often.

    So if mind no longer dominates and attention flows naturally. It is not entangled with minds activity. It simply flows lightly skimming over appearances but not grasping at them.

    In this case I would agree with you 100% that holding on to a support like the breath may be a hindrance.

    But there are teachers like Ajaan Maha Boowa who taught to hold on to your meditation object in all postures continuously until full realization. According to his teachings, he held firmly to his parikamma Buddho until full realization.

    Ajaan Sao (parikamma)
    Ajaan Mun (parikamma)
    Webu Sayadaw (anapanasati)
    Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (cittanupassana)
    Venerable Ajaan Paññãvaððho (anapanasati)
    Upasika Kee Nanayon (anapanasati)
    BUDDHADASA BHIKKHU (anapanasati)

    These are among just a few teachers who have taught to hold firmly to your meditation object until realization, in order to subdue defilements.

    Starve them by not allowing them to arise. They will eventually die from lack of attention. This is a natural principle. Don't feed it, maintain it, charge it and it eventually ceases to function. So is true with defilements.

    Many of these teachers continued to hold firmly to that even after realization. Webu Sayadaw (anapanasati) and Shwe Oo Min Sayadaw (cittanupassana) are two examples.

    Now who am I to say that their teachings and methods of practice are incorrect or untrue?

    Who am I to say that they were not fully realized?

    But what they have taught matches my own experience as being valid.

    But I also agree with the teachings of Mahamudra and Dzogchen where the support is eventually discarded and awareness is allowed to be as it naturally is. It's allowed to flow without modification or alteration.

    Like a ball thrown into the sea. Flowing unhindered. Not held hostage. Not stopping. Flowing without volition. Immovable.

    But this is why there are so many methods. Because not all is suited for every person.

    Neither is superior or inferior to the other.

    I'm always very amazed how supposed fully realized beings talk about how their methods and traditions are superior and others are inferior.

    That is a samsaric attitude. That doesn't sound very realized to me.

    Invincible_summer
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 2015

    Personally all my 'methods and techniques' are only applicable to the samsaric. That just in case anyone steeled against imagined midges was wondering, includes breatharians.

    ... and now back to the harshless, heedless and breathless ...

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @lobster

    Too harsh? (<---Lobster said in the Original post before editing)

    Like a mosquito trying to suck blood from a piece of steel.

    Zero penetration.

    And By the way I don't disagree with you either. (Maybe? Possibility? the comment that this sentence referred to was edited out because I agreed with it. I wasn't suppose to agree. I was suppose to MAYBE be angry or hurt? And disagree harshly?)

    Always keeping an open mind. Never frozen and closed.

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @lobster

    The ONLY thing that you could do to me that I might consider harsh. Would be to push me off a cliff. Anything short of that and you're wasting your time trying.

    But please continue. If it gives you pleasure. I'll play with you if you want to play.

    Invincible_summer
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @lobster

    No fair. We were on a roll. Why'd you change your post?

    Don't you wanna play?

    You started. I'm perfectly content to continue.

    lobsterInvincible_summer
  • I'm content to stand aside on this one especially since our lobster can hold her own and then some.
    At any rate, T_A_S, if you have a parachute, getting pushed off a cliff can be a lot of fun. =)

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited October 2015

    The human state, the heavenly state, and nibbana are all here in the breath. The breath can take you all the way to nibbana?

    Not all the time.

    EarthninjaInvincible_summer
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @Lionduck

    Awesome! Maybe @lobster will join me {{wink}}{{wink}}

    What do you say @lobster. Do you want to go for a ride on the wild side? I'll be gentle. I promise. But only If you want me too :p

    I'm 6'7" and 335 lbs. I'm a REAL BEAST!!!

    PURE ANIMAL!!! I'll devour you!!

    Invincible_summer
  • @how said: I mention this only because eventually when a meditation practice evolves, the sensations of the breath should no more dominate the other sense gates, than our thoughts formally did.

    One way of describing this is as the transition from samatha to vipassana ( tranquillity to insight ). Though actually they are two sides of the same coin.

    Redirecting attention to a bodily process like breathing calms the mind, which in turn allows us to experience the present more clearly. The breath remains available if we need it.

    There are various approaches to meditation, I think it's worth exploring them. Getting stuck in a particular groove could be counterproductive.

    Invincible_summer
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
  • Somebody has had too much of the party punch.

    Earthninja
  • I did have to look up "hot pocket", I though it was some sort of slang. ;)

    Tony_A_SimienEarthninjaInvincible_summer
  • @how said:
    It's quite acceptable to have breath attention be a starting practice or a returning practice each time some deliberate manipulation of the sense gates occurs but not so for when all the sense gate are getting equal standing on the meditative stage. To give any sense gate any special attention at this point is simply a hindrance.

    Well said. :3
    It is important to understand our formal practice. Focus or right concentration is a part of a general mindfullness but also a meditative 'stage'.
    http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/Right-Concentration.htm

    Even though my main practice equates to and is best described as shikantaza I this morning engaged in mantra as I feel this is a useful practice engaging mind, speech and body (chest and brain cavity vibration at least).

    My own feeling is 'Tibetan' Buddhism is sometimes described as 'mantrayana', which to me is a formal enactment of 'right speech', which of course at times speaks volumes through noble silence and attentive breath returning. Many thanks. B)

  • @Earthninja

    LMAO! That's funny!

    Because actually, that was me in 1980. Except my hair was curly lol. Even down to the eyeglasses.

    Earthninja
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