FORMAL PRACTICE I

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    • #14228
      Embodied
      Spectator

      Once confronted with all the info here i started questioning myself about my formal practice. Below what i’ve been doing till now on a daily basis:

      A) Vipassana – not very much for i was never convinced by the usual ways of practicing it, i.e.: sit down ( in my case siddhasana) paying attention to whatever happens (body sensations , mindstream, environnement) without sticking to anything in particular. Apart from finding it relaxing and effective to stimulate awareness i don’t see how this can trigger/improve insight. So i soon “created” (created in the sense that at that moment i hadn’t read anywhere about what i’m going to describe now) another practice based upon the:
      B) “4 frames for mindfulness” : after a short relaxation i start focusing on life experiences related to body, feelings/emotions and mental elaborations while “comparing” them to the 3 pillars Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha and the 4 Noble truths. YET i don’t focus through , i do breaks to focus on breathing in order to not become entangled by the process and in order to get back to it with a fresh mind.
      C) Twice a week breathing becomes my first focus , switching from focusing on the sensation of touch when air passes through nostrils to focusing on breathing globally meaning that i let myself “to be breathed”, with the exclusive purpose of entering in pratyahara / absorption.

      Corrections and constructive critics always welcome ! Thanks.

    • #14232
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I really recommend reading the section on “Bhāvanā (Meditation)“.

      • #14235
        Embodied
        Spectator

        Already did Lal and i got the impression that i was practicing right except point C) of my post. As for point A what i’m saying there is that i DON’T practice that.
        Now in Bhavana Meditation i read that one can use as focus point a concept, you even recommend to start with Anicca so my question is: isn’t what i’m describing in point C the same practice ?

        Anyways i’ll read again and i’ll submit here to your appreciation for correction a full scheme of formal practice from A to Z.

        Thanks alot for the fine guidance.

    • #14236
      Lal
      Keymaster

      For example, Anapana sati meditation is not breath meditation. See “6. Anāpānasati Bhāvanā (Introduction)” and the following two posts.

      • #14241
        Embodied
        Spectator

        Yes yes i read your teaching about Anapanasati not being breath meditation some days ago too.
        Read and understood it. So according your teachings i would sum up my first post on this subject as follows:
        – After a short relaxation and having prepared the suitable environment (incense, light etc) i start focusing on one of the 3 pillars Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha and i relate it to my life experience. Then I see what i could have done, thought or said better as per my understanding of the pillar in question.
        Example: if i could sum up my understanding of Anicca in some brief sentences (which i can’t) based upon what one SHOULDN’T do/be, i would say that a wrong perception of oneself (meaning that one identifies himself/herself to different cravings and defilements) pushes one into trying to get hold of something that is intrinsically “not holdable” or inconsistent , SO any efforts to immobilise the experience,or to stick to it, will trigger DUKKHA…

    • #14240
      Tobias G
      Participant

      Formal (sitting) meditation could be:
      – homage to the Buddha (namaskaraya), recite the 3 Refuges (tisarana) and the Panca Sila
      – bojjanga meditation (contemplation about a Dhamma concept and the tilakkhana with reference to real life situations)
      – adinava meditation to reduce lobha/raga (see the disadvantages of acting with dasa akusala and indulging in sense pleasures)
      – metta meditation to reduce dosa/patigha
      – ask all beings for forgiveness and forgive all debts other beings have with you. Think about the akusala sankhara you have done in sansara with understanding of the 3 akusala root causes (lobha, dosa, moha).

      One cannot do all above mentioned points in one session. I normally do the homage to the Buddha and recite the tisarana, then I continue with bojjanga and metta bhavana.

      When one really grasps the tilakkhana and the bigger picture which the Buddha gave, then the last point (asking for forgiveness and forgiving all debts other beings have with you) becomes very powerful. One can see the total futility of akusala deeds and one’s panna grows. Also one can “feel” the connection to all beings via the mind plane.

      When not in formal meditation always do anapana and satipattana throughout the day.

      • #14242
        Embodied
        Spectator

        Thanks to both, Lal, Tobias. Once i’ll have put all the Pali terms into english i’ll integrate all that in my practice.
        I think, i hope i said something that meets what is taught here in my comment just before this one,but using my own vocabulary…i hope !

    • #14244
      Embodied
      Spectator

      “At this point one should stop the contemplation process and start breathing in and out to cleanse the body; sometimes the body itself automatically gets rid of those things via a long out breath. This will lead to passaddhi (tranquility) of both the body and the mind, and one gets to samadhi gradually. One needs to think about the lightness of the body and the mind (passaddhi) and the niramisa sukha (from samadhi) that results. One also should think about upekkha (equanimity) too.
      When the body and the mind calm down enough and when one feels relaxed, one should go back to cultivating the previous three sabbojjanga, i.e., start on the contemplation process of dhammavicaya.”

      I found on the site (as above) the right phrasing for what i wanted to mean with my blurred speech:
      “after a short relaxation i start focusing on life experiences related to body, feelings/emotions and mental elaborations while “comparing” them to the 3 pillars Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha and the 4 Noble truths. YET i don’t focus through , i do breaks to focus on breathing in order to not become entangled by the process and in order to get back to it with a fresh mind.”

    • #14246
      Tobias G
      Participant

      Yes, while doing Dhammavicaya one will have a break to breathe out and relax. Vicaya is the investigation and requires effort and thus a moment of silence inbetween helps to reach a balance between work and silence. All together it is the “washing out” of defilements.

    • #14248
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Embodied said: “At this point one should stop the contemplation process and start breathing in and out to cleanse the body; sometimes the body itself automatically gets rid of those things via a long out breath. This will lead to passaddhi (tranquility) of both the body and the mind, and one gets to samadhi gradually. One needs to think about the lightness of the body and the mind (passaddhi) and the niramisa sukha (from samadhi) that results. One also should think about upekkha (equanimity) too.
      When the body and the mind calm down enough and when one feels relaxed, one should go back to cultivating the previous three sabbojjanga, i.e., start on the contemplation process of dhammavicaya.”

      As Tobias confirmed, that is correct. That quote is from the post,”11. Magga Phala via Cultivation of Saptha Bojjanga“.

      Your earlier description of anicca is fine too, Embodied.
      Each person sees it one’s own way. But the key is to see the “unfruitfullness” in worldly things, and that if one commits dasa akusala to get those worldly things one will face bad consequences in the future.

      By the way, the following post may be helpful for everyone in writing responses or asking questions in formatting the text (and to provide links): “How to Reply to a Forum Question“.

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