Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Guide to Ānāpānasati

Step Three
Become familiar with the breath through practice. After you have
relaxed your body, and have resolved to stop all other thoughts, you
should place your mind on the area where your in-&out breaths touch
your skin: the touching point. It is the area around your nostrils and
the top of the upper lip
. Try to feel the breath in one of those two
places. Then keep your mind with the breath, and be aware of it all
the time. You should try to know the natural breath objectively, as if
you are an onlooker. Do not control or interfere with the natural
breathing: just know it as it is. If you control your breathing, you may
feel discomfort in your chest.
One important thing is that you be aware of only the breath at the
touching point you have chosen, that you do not follow the breath
into or out of your body
. If you follow the breath in and out, you will
not be able to perfect your concentration.
To explain this, the Visuddhimagga gives a simile: the simile of the
gate-keeper. A gate-keeper does not pay attention to people who have
already gone inside or outside the town: he pays attention only to
people who arrive at the gate. In the same way, the breaths that have
gone inside and outside are not the yogi’s concern. His concern is
only the breaths that arrive at the touching point (the gate).

Another important thing is that you should not concentrate on the
characteristics of the four elements in your breath
. You should not
concentrate on the characteristics of the earth-element in your breath
(hardness, roughness, heaviness, softness, smoothness or lightness),
nor on the characteristics of the water element (flowing and cohesion),
nor on the characteristics of the fire element (heat and cold),
nor on the characteristics of the wind-element in your breath
(pushing and supporting).
If you concentrate on any of those characteristics, the others will
also become more and more obvious in your body, and that will disturb
your concentration
. What you should do is only to know the
breath. You should know the breath as a general concept.
Sometimes a yogi may find it difficult to perceive the breath. This
is not because he is no longer breathing: it is because the breath is
subtle, and he is not yet familiar with it. Hence, he should just keep
his mind on the touching point with a cool and alert mind. When it
becomes difficult for him to perceive the breath, he needs do no more
than know that he is still breathing. Then, with patience and mindfulness,
he will gradually be able to know the subtle breath. If he tries
again and again, he will get used to concentrating on it. That will be
very helpful for him to develop deep concentration.
While trying to become familiar with the breath, you should follow
the middle way: you should put forth just the right amount of effort.
Do not put forth too much effort, because you may then have trouble
such as tension, headache and strain of the eyes. Then again, do not
put forth too little effort either, because you may then get lost in daydreams
or fall asleep. So it is good to make sure that your effort is
just sufficient for you always to know the breath.
Whenever thoughts occur in your mind, just ignore them and bring
your mind back to the breath. It is useless to get angry at the thoughts
or at yourself. You should accept that the occurrence of thoughts in
the mind is a natural thing, and should not get entangled in them. By
ignoring the thoughts, you remove yourself from them. And by always
knowing the breath, you make yourself familiar with the breath.
That is the right way to deal with wandering thoughts.
If your mind wanders frequently, you may help your it stay with the
breath by noting: when knowing the in-&-out breath, note it as:
‘in – out; in – out; in – out…’.
You may also count the breaths, that is to say, when breathing in,
you note: ‘in’; when breathing out, you note ‘out’, and at the end of
the out-breath you count ‘one’. You can count in this way up to at
least five, but not to more than ten. For example, if you choose to
count up to eight, you should count from one to eight again and
again. But, as you count the breaths, your object should still be the
breath, not the numbers that you count. The numbers are just a tool to
help you stay with the breath. You should continue counting until
your mind becomes calm and stable. Then you can stop counting, and
just know the in-&-out breath.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guide to Ānāpānasati

Step Two
Put aside all thoughts, including all worries and plans. You should
reflect on the fact that all conditioned things are impermanent. They
will not follow your wishes but will follow only their own courses. It
is useless to try to grasp them. It is useful to put them aside while you
are meditating.
Whenever you get entangled in thoughts, you should remind yourself
that now is not the time for you to worry; now is the time for you
to keep your mind on only the object of meditation: the breath. If you
happen to remember something very important, and think you must
remember it or think it over, do not do so when you are meditating. If
necessary, you can write the important thing down in a notebook that
you keep beside you, and then not think about it as long as you are
If you really want to succeed in ānāpānasati, you have to put aside
all other objects. Some yogis want to develop concentration, yet
cannot give up their attachment for many worldly things.
As a result,
their mind becomes restless, always wandering between the breath
and worldly objects. Even though they try hard to calm their mind,
they fail: only because they are unable to give up their attachment for
other objects. Such attachment is a great obstacle to one’s progress in
meditation. So it is very important that you make a strong resolution
to stop all other thoughts while you are meditating.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guide to Ānāpānasati

Step One
Sit upright. You may choose any sitting posture you like. If you
find it difficult, you do not need to sit cross-legged. You may also sit
with both legs side by side on the floor (neither pressing the other).
Sitting on a cushion of a suitable thickness helps you feel comfortable,
and allows you easily to straighten your upper body.
Then relax your body part by part, from head to foot. Make sure
there is no tension in any part of your body. If there is tension, try to
release it, and remain relaxed and natural. Otherwise, the tension will
eventually cause discomfort and pain. So be sure to relax your whole
body every time you start your sitting meditation.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Introduction to ānāpānasati (mindfulness- of-breathing)

Hi friends,

Today I like to share with you some basic instructions on how to
develop concentration with ānāpānasati (mindfulness- of-breathing).
There are two kinds of meditation: Samatha and Vipassanā.
Samatha is the development of concentration, and Vipassanā is the
development of wisdom. Samatha is a very important foundation for

This is why beginners are greatly encouraged to practise first
Samatha, so as to develop deep and powerful concentration. Then can
they practise Vipassanā, to see the true nature of things.
There are forty Samatha meditation subjects, but ānāpānasati (mindfulness of breathing)is one of the more popular ones for beginners.

In the Sa§yutta Nikāya, the Buddha praises ānāpānasati:

Bhikkhus, this concentration through mindfulness of breathing,
when developed and practised much, is both peaceful and sublime.
It is an unadulterated blissful abiding, and
it banishes and stills evil unwholesome thoughts as soon as they arise.

Will be introducing the steps for you to follow in the upcoming postings.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Craving- Powerful Defilement

This is one of the defilements we have to overcome. We are constantly craving for things and that in turn will lead to suffering. We must not let craving control us therefore constant mindfulness must be maintained at our six sense doors. Just watch your craving and face it squarely. Your craving will weaken if you understand that nothing is permanent and even if you succeed in the end you will still be thirsty for more. So where does this end?

Contemplate on this. See for yourself.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mindfulness of Breathing

Anapanassati is one of the most effective meditation subjects for developing concentration quickly. It is much praised by the Buddha and is used in many meditation centres as the special meditation subject for developing concentration. If properly practised according to the Buddha's instruction, it can develop the mind up to the fourth rupavacara jhana in the fourfold jhana method.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Buddha's Words

Hi all,

here is one of Buddha's teaching that I think is meaningful for all;

To avoid all evil,
To cultivate good,
To purify one's mind,
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Thank you again for visiting my site. I hope this will benefit you.
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