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Re: [Buddhism_101] Meditation, Concentration and Mindfulness

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  • ken
    TM and the meditation taught in buddhism are similar in some ways, different in others. In order to avoid confusion where the same term means one thing in one
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 1, 2011
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      TM and the meditation taught in buddhism are similar in some ways,
      different in others. In order to avoid confusion where the same term
      means one thing in one kind of practice and something different (or
      nothing at all) in the other, we should use a consistent set of terms.
      Since this is a list for buddhists, I'll be using terms with the
      meanings they have in buddhism and expect that others do the same.
      Otherwise it'll be a little bit like we're speaking different languages
      and not even knowing it.

      Also, it happens in buddhism that meanings of words (and practices)
      change as one becomes more adept and occasionally depending upon a
      specific situation. It's like if someone asks, should I walk down the
      street on the left side or the right side? Well, this is going to
      depend upon whether it's city or country, whether there's sidewalks or
      not, is there construction going on you need to avoid, and so on. These
      might seem to be dumb to anyone familiar with walking down streets and
      roads, but if this is unfamiliar territory, then these are valid
      considerations.

      Enough prologue.

      As I understand meditation (and I'm still learning about it, so others
      should feel free to correct me or give their interpretation... that's
      fine and what we're here for), yes, it's quiet time with the mind.
      There might be noises, both audio and visual, around you. But it's
      quite possible to pay them no mind. We've probably all been in a
      conversation in a crowded room with lots of noise and activity all
      around, yet we're able to focus on what just one person is saying.
      Meditation is like that.

      And yes, even though we set aside everything happening in the
      environment surrounding us and focus on the mind, there can be a lot
      going on there too. Just allowing whatever thoughts arise can be
      interesting... or perhaps disturbing. A thought arises, we examine it.
      If it is troubling, then we might want to think about it and wonder
      where it's coming from. This is vipassana, or sometimes called 'insight
      meditation' meditation and can be therapeutic in dealing with personal
      problems. You might have heard of 'free association' used in
      psychotherapy...? It's a bit like that.

      There's also shamata meditation. (This might also be spelled samatha or
      shamatha. There are attempts to canonize transliterations, but people
      are already using spellings they know and these can be different.) In
      shamata meditation we try to clear all thoughts from the mind and so
      have no thoughts, this to experience a different kind of consciousness,
      one which most people don't even know exists. By 'clearing all
      thoughts' we mean that we allow thoughts to arise-- which they'll do
      anyway-- but just examine them briefly and then let them go. The aim is
      to let the thoughts play out until they don't arise anymore. Relax into
      this, just let it happen.

      Another kind of meditation is analytical meditation. This is used when,
      to use ordinary terms, you're trying to figure something out or when you
      want to learn something. So it's a little like philosophical
      contemplation and a little like rigorous study. Rather than banishing
      all thoughts, you do think about something, but in a focussed way. And
      you might slip into shamata meditation in order to allow it to enlighten
      you on the topic. After all, words fail in trying to describe some
      things (e.g., emptiness), so how could thoughts possible help in
      understanding them? Yet also we might just want to commit something to
      memory, something for the most part completely understandable with
      thoughts. Analytical meditation can help here also, help in accessing
      that kind of memory which never forgets.

      As a practical matter, shamata and analytical meditation can be
      difficult to practice if I have some kind of severe attachment. (And
      these will be initially difficult for anyone even should they have no
      such attachments.) If there is some thoughts or feelings, the same ones
      over and over again, which won't let us clear the mind, then we should
      deal with those, practice vipassana meditation. After all, if we can't
      be at peace with these recurring and troubling thoughts, then we can't
      really succeed in shamata or analytical meditation anyway. So we may as
      well deal with what's so obviously and urgently in front of us.

      I don't know if this answers your questions. If not, there are many
      entire books just on buddhist meditation (several of which I'd like to
      get to) and many more which at least in part discuss meditation. And
      perhaps there are others in this group with different takes on the
      topics, additional information, and/or better answers.


      --
      War is a failure of the imagination.
      --William Blake



      On 08/31/2011 11:53 PM Don wrote:
      >
      >
      > So I have no idea what vipassana is but I have practiced Zen meditation
      > and TM. In both forms one notices the churning of the mind creating and
      > recreating thoughts. One notices this also with simple mindfulness. I
      > suppose meditation is in the category of right concentration although
      > when one is concentrating on the wall or the mantra or the breath it is
      > different than when the mind is quiet. So my first question is: In
      > Buddhism do we make a distinction between concentration and meditation.
      > Also is the purpose to aid you in right mindfulness because the more I
      > practice each the more they seem alike.
      >
      >
    • Don
      Thank you for your thorough reply. I am really focused on Buddhism 101 basic fundamentals right now. In the 8 fold path there is Right Mindfulness and Right
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 1, 2011
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        Thank you for your thorough reply. I am really focused on Buddhism 101 basic fundamentals right now. In the 8 fold path there is Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Meditation is put in the Right Concentration category but I feel concentration and meditation are really two different mental states. I also feel Right Mindfulness is very similar in that after meditating awhile you realize that mindfulness is like a form of meditation. That is your mind may focus on what you are perceiving, thinking, feeling but it gets distracted from time to time exactly in the same way that one can focus on one's breath but get distracted from time to time. I also think that the main benefit of both is the awareness one gains of the impermanence of self. Please correct me if I am misunderstanding anything.
      • levey_steven@hotmail.com
        Hello I ve been following along the previous discussion on TM and it is an odd thing when someone tries to, seemingly innocently, ask questions about
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 2, 2011
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          Hello
                I've been following along the previous discussion on TM and it is an odd thing when someone tries to, seemingly innocently, ask questions about comparison and contrast of doctrine, and then proceeds to carry on only in defense of their own. And I agree that since no one is lacking in the Buddha Nature, they deserve a listening to.
                This has always been the problem with sites such as ours where folks can come and go while hiding behind their anonymity. However,  I have for one wouldn't have it any other way. After all, isn't the first of the Paramitas-charity?

          Steve

          Sent via DroidX2 on Verizon Wireless™


          -----Original message-----
          From: ken <gebser@...>
          To:
          Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
          Sent:
          Thu, Sep 1, 2011 09:48:42 GMT+00:00
          Subject:
          Re: [Buddhism_101] Meditation, Concentration and Mindfulness

           

          TM and the meditation taught in buddhism are similar in some ways,
          different in others. In order to avoid confusion where the same term
          means one thing in one kind of practice and something different (or
          nothing at all) in the other, we should use a consistent set of terms.
          Since this is a list for buddhists, I'll be using terms with the
          meanings they have in buddhism and expect that others do the same.
          Otherwise it'll be a little bit like we're speaking different languages
          and not even knowing it.

          Also, it happens in buddhism that meanings of words (and practices)
          change as one becomes more adept and occasionally depending upon a
          specific situation. It's like if someone asks, should I walk down the
          street on the left side or the right side? Well, this is going to
          depend upon whether it's city or country, whether there's sidewalks or
          not, is there construction going on you need to avoid, and so on. These
          might seem to be dumb to anyone familiar with walking down streets and
          roads, but if this is unfamiliar territory, then these are valid
          considerations.

          Enough prologue.

          As I understand meditation (and I'm still learning about it, so others
          should feel free to correct me or give their interpretation... that's
          fine and what we're here for), yes, it's quiet time with the mind.
          There might be noises, both audio and visual, around you. But it's
          quite possible to pay them no mind. We've probably all been in a
          conversation in a crowded room with lots of noise and activity all
          around, yet we're able to focus on what just one person is saying.
          Meditation is like that.

          And yes, even though we set aside everything happening in the
          environment surrounding us and focus on the mind, there can be a lot
          going on there too. Just allowing whatever thoughts arise can be
          interesting... or perhaps disturbing. A thought arises, we examine it.
          If it is troubling, then we might want to think about it and wonder
          where it's coming from. This is vipassana, or sometimes called 'insight
          meditation' meditation and can be therapeutic in dealing with personal
          problems. You might have heard of 'free association' used in
          psychotherapy...? It's a bit like that.

          There's also shamata meditation. (This might also be spelled samatha or
          shamatha. There are attempts to canonize transliterations, but people
          are already using spellings they know and these can be different.) In
          shamata meditation we try to clear all thoughts from the mind and so
          have no thoughts, this to experience a different kind of consciousness,
          one which most people don't even know exists. By 'clearing all
          thoughts' we mean that we allow thoughts to arise-- which they'll do
          anyway-- but just examine them briefly and then let them go. The aim is
          to let the thoughts play out until they don't arise anymore. Relax into
          this, just let it happen.

          Another kind of meditation is analytical meditation. This is used when,
          to use ordinary terms, you're trying to figure something out or when you
          want to learn something. So it's a little like philosophical
          contemplation and a little like rigorous study. Rather than banishing
          all thoughts, you do think about something, but in a focussed way. And
          you might slip into shamata meditation in order to allow it to enlighten
          you on the topic. After all, words fail in trying to describe some
          things (e.g., emptiness), so how could thoughts possible help in
          understanding them? Yet also we might just want to commit something to
          memory, something for the most part completely understandable with
          thoughts. Analytical meditation can help here also, help in accessing
          that kind of memory which never forgets.

          As a practical matter, shamata and analytical meditation can be
          difficult to practice if I have some kind of severe attachment. (And
          these will be initially difficult for anyone even should they have no
          such attachments.) If there is some thoughts or feelings, the same ones
          over and over again, which won't let us clear the mind, then we should
          deal with those, practice vipassana meditation. After all, if we can't
          be at peace with these recurring and troubling thoughts, then we can't
          really succeed in shamata or analytical meditation anyway. So we may as
          well deal with what's so obviously and urgently in front of us.

          I don't know if this answers your questions. If not, there are many
          entire books just on buddhist meditation (several of which I'd like to
          get to) and many more which at least in part discuss meditation. And
          perhaps there are others in this group with different takes on the
          topics, additional information, and/or better answers.

          --
          War is a failure of the imagination.
          --William Blake

          On 08/31/2011 11:53 PM Don wrote:
          >
          >
          > So I have no idea what vipassana is but I have practiced Zen meditation
          > and TM. In both forms one notices the churning of the mind creating and
          > recreating thoughts. One notices this also with simple mindfulness. I
          > suppose meditation is in the category of right concentration although
          > when one is concentrating on the wall or the mantra or the breath it is
          > different than when the mind is quiet. So my first question is: In
          > Buddhism do we make a distinction between concentration and meditation.
          > Also is the purpose to aid you in right mindfulness because the more I
          > practice each the more they seem alike.
          >
          >

        • Don
          Just to clarify; I have no idea about the previous conversation. I am a new Buddhist and new to this group. I saw tm mentioned and mentioned it as part of
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 2, 2011
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            Just to clarify; I have no idea about the previous conversation. I am a new Buddhist and new to this group. I saw tm mentioned and mentioned it as part of my question but I am not defending or criticizing and I am not asking a question about TM! Sheesh! My question was unrelated to the previous conversation and was about meditation and concentration and mindfulness. What are the similarities and differences. This is a perfect example, I think, of how destructive wrong speech can be. Someone said something that they should not have (I have no idea if it was too harsh or untrue) and It was upsetting and clouded Right View. Now; I have looked over some of the documents you have posted and I see that I am on the mark. There is a doc stating the 4 noble truths and when talking about the 8 fold path they do seem to lump together these three ideas. They are close to one another. That tells me that my experience with these things have not been too far off what other Buddhists experience when they practice Buddhism. So all in all I think answering my own question was probably good for me.
            With Bows, Don

            --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "levey_steven@..." <levey_steven@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello
            > I've been following along the previous discussion on TM and it is an odd thing when someone tries to, seemingly innocently, ask questions about comparison and contrast of doctrine, and then proceeds to carry on only in defense of their own. And I agree that since no one is lacking in the Buddha Nature, they deserve a listening to.
            > This has always been the problem with sites such as ours where folks can come and go while hiding behind their anonymity. However, I have for one wouldn't have it any other way. After all, isn't the first of the Paramitas-charity?
            >
            > Steve
            >
            > Sent via DroidX2 on Verizon Wireless™
            >
            > -----Original message-----
            > From: ken <gebser@...>
            > To: Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 09:48:42 GMT+00:00
            > Subject: Re: [Buddhism_101] Meditation, Concentration and Mindfulness
            >
            > TM and the meditation taught in buddhism are similar in some ways,
            > different in others. In order to avoid confusion where the same term
            > means one thing in one kind of practice and something different (or
            > nothing at all) in the other, we should use a consistent set of terms.
            > Since this is a list for buddhists, I'll be using terms with the
            > meanings they have in buddhism and expect that others do the same.
            > Otherwise it'll be a little bit like we're speaking different languages
            > and not even knowing it.
            >
            > Also, it happens in buddhism that meanings of words (and practices)
            > change as one becomes more adept and occasionally depending upon a
            > specific situation. It's like if someone asks, should I walk down the
            > street on the left side or the right side? Well, this is going to
            > depend upon whether it's city or country, whether there's sidewalks or
            > not, is there construction going on you need to avoid, and so on. These
            > might seem to be dumb to anyone familiar with walking down streets and
            > roads, but if this is unfamiliar territory, then these are valid
            > considerations.
            >
            > Enough prologue.
            >
            > As I understand meditation (and I'm still learning about it, so others
            > should feel free to correct me or give their interpretation... that's
            > fine and what we're here for), yes, it's quiet time with the mind.
            > There might be noises, both audio and visual, around you. But it's
            > quite possible to pay them no mind. We've probably all been in a
            > conversation in a crowded room with lots of noise and activity all
            > around, yet we're able to focus on what just one person is saying.
            > Meditation is like that.
            >
            > And yes, even though we set aside everything happening in the
            > environment surrounding us and focus on the mind, there can be a lot
            > going on there too. Just allowing whatever thoughts arise can be
            > interesting... or perhaps disturbing. A thought arises, we examine it.
            > If it is troubling, then we might want to think about it and wonder
            > where it's coming from. This is vipassana, or sometimes called 'insight
            > meditation' meditation and can be therapeutic in dealing with personal
            > problems. You might have heard of 'free association' used in
            > psychotherapy...? It's a bit like that.
            >
            > There's also shamata meditation. (This might also be spelled samatha or
            > shamatha. There are attempts to canonize transliterations, but people
            > are already using spellings they know and these can be different.) In
            > shamata meditation we try to clear all thoughts from the mind and so
            > have no thoughts, this to experience a different kind of consciousness,
            > one which most people don't even know exists. By 'clearing all
            > thoughts' we mean that we allow thoughts to arise-- which they'll do
            > anyway-- but just examine them briefly and then let them go. The aim is
            > to let the thoughts play out until they don't arise anymore. Relax into
            > this, just let it happen.
            >
            > Another kind of meditation is analytical meditation. This is used when,
            > to use ordinary terms, you're trying to figure something out or when you
            > want to learn something. So it's a little like philosophical
            > contemplation and a little like rigorous study. Rather than banishing
            > all thoughts, you do think about something, but in a focussed way. And
            > you might slip into shamata meditation in order to allow it to enlighten
            > you on the topic. After all, words fail in trying to describe some
            > things (e.g., emptiness), so how could thoughts possible help in
            > understanding them? Yet also we might just want to commit something to
            > memory, something for the most part completely understandable with
            > thoughts. Analytical meditation can help here also, help in accessing
            > that kind of memory which never forgets.
            >
            > As a practical matter, shamata and analytical meditation can be
            > difficult to practice if I have some kind of severe attachment. (And
            > these will be initially difficult for anyone even should they have no
            > such attachments.) If there is some thoughts or feelings, the same ones
            > over and over again, which won't let us clear the mind, then we should
            > deal with those, practice vipassana meditation. After all, if we can't
            > be at peace with these recurring and troubling thoughts, then we can't
            > really succeed in shamata or analytical meditation anyway. So we may as
            > well deal with what's so obviously and urgently in front of us.
            >
            > I don't know if this answers your questions. If not, there are many
            > entire books just on buddhist meditation (several of which I'd like to
            > get to) and many more which at least in part discuss meditation. And
            > perhaps there are others in this group with different takes on the
            > topics, additional information, and/or better answers.
            >
            >
            > --
            > War is a failure of the imagination.
            > --William Blake
            >
            >
            >
            > On 08/31/2011 11:53 PM Don wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > So I have no idea what vipassana is but I have practiced Zen meditation
            > > and TM. In both forms one notices the churning of the mind creating and
            > > recreating thoughts. One notices this also with simple mindfulness. I
            > > suppose meditation is in the category of right concentration although
            > > when one is concentrating on the wall or the mantra or the breath it is
            > > different than when the mind is quiet. So my first question is: In
            > > Buddhism do we make a distinction between concentration and meditation.
            > > Also is the purpose to aid you in right mindfulness because the more I
            > > practice each the more they seem alike.
            > >
            > >
            >
          • levey_steven@hotmail.com
            Hi My remarks were not aimed at you, my friend, but at the gentleman who actually carried on in defense of TM and went on to explain it adfinitum. And actually
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 2, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi
                    My remarks were not aimed at you, my friend, but at the gentleman who actually carried on in defense of TM and went on to explain it adfinitum. And actually my email is not negative, merely to the point taken by our "leader".

              Sent via DroidX2 on Verizon Wireless™


              -----Original message-----
              From: Don <donald_e_mathews@...>
              To:
              Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
              Sent:
              Fri, Sep 2, 2011 21:35:19 GMT+00:00
              Subject:
              [Buddhism_101] Re: Meditation, Concentration and Mindfulness

               

              Just to clarify; I have no idea about the previous conversation. I am a new Buddhist and new to this group. I saw tm mentioned and mentioned it as part of my question but I am not defending or criticizing and I am not asking a question about TM! Sheesh! My question was unrelated to the previous conversation and was about meditation and concentration and mindfulness. What are the similarities and differences. This is a perfect example, I think, of how destructive wrong speech can be. Someone said something that they should not have (I have no idea if it was too harsh or untrue) and It was upsetting and clouded Right View. Now; I have looked over some of the documents you have posted and I see that I am on the mark. There is a doc stating the 4 noble truths and when talking about the 8 fold path they do seem to lump together these three ideas. They are close to one another. That tells me that my experience with these things have not been too far off what other Buddhists experience when they practice Buddhism. So all in all I think answering my own question was probably good for me.
              With Bows, Don

              --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "levey_steven@..." <levey_steven@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hello
              > I've been following along the previous discussion on TM and it is an odd thing when someone tries to, seemingly innocently, ask questions about comparison and contrast of doctrine, and then proceeds to carry on only in defense of their own. And I agree that since no one is lacking in the Buddha Nature, they deserve a listening to.
              > This has always been the problem with sites such as ours where folks can come and go while hiding behind their anonymity. However, I have for one wouldn't have it any other way. After all, isn't the first of the Paramitas-charity?
              >
              > Steve
              >
              > Sent via DroidX2 on Verizon Wireless™
              >
              > -----Original message-----
              > From: ken <gebser@...>
              > To: Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 09:48:42 GMT+00:00
              > Subject: Re: [Buddhism_101] Meditation, Concentration and Mindfulness
              >
              > TM and the meditation taught in buddhism are similar in some ways,
              > different in others. In order to avoid confusion where the same term
              > means one thing in one kind of practice and something different (or
              > nothing at all) in the other, we should use a consistent set of terms.
              > Since this is a list for buddhists, I'll be using terms with the
              > meanings they have in buddhism and expect that others do the same.
              > Otherwise it'll be a little bit like we're speaking different languages
              > and not even knowing it.
              >
              > Also, it happens in buddhism that meanings of words (and practices)
              > change as one becomes more adept and occasionally depending upon a
              > specific situation. It's like if someone asks, should I walk down the
              > street on the left side or the right side? Well, this is going to
              > depend upon whether it's city or country, whether there's sidewalks or
              > not, is there construction going on you need to avoid, and so on. These
              > might seem to be dumb to anyone familiar with walking down streets and
              > roads, but if this is unfamiliar territory, then these are valid
              > considerations.
              >
              > Enough prologue.
              >
              > As I understand meditation (and I'm still learning about it, so others
              > should feel free to correct me or give their interpretation... that's
              > fine and what we're here for), yes, it's quiet time with the mind.
              > There might be noises, both audio and visual, around you. But it's
              > quite possible to pay them no mind. We've probably all been in a
              > conversation in a crowded room with lots of noise and activity all
              > around, yet we're able to focus on what just one person is saying.
              > Meditation is like that.
              >
              > And yes, even though we set aside everything happening in the
              > environment surrounding us and focus on the mind, there can be a lot
              > going on there too. Just allowing whatever thoughts arise can be
              > interesting... or perhaps disturbing. A thought arises, we examine it.
              > If it is troubling, then we might want to think about it and wonder
              > where it's coming from. This is vipassana, or sometimes called 'insight
              > meditation' meditation and can be therapeutic in dealing with personal
              > problems. You might have heard of 'free association' used in
              > psychotherapy...? It's a bit like that.
              >
              > There's also shamata meditation. (This might also be spelled samatha or
              > shamatha. There are attempts to canonize transliterations, but people
              > are already using spellings they know and these can be different.) In
              > shamata meditation we try to clear all thoughts from the mind and so
              > have no thoughts, this to experience a different kind of consciousness,
              > one which most people don't even know exists. By 'clearing all
              > thoughts' we mean that we allow thoughts to arise-- which they'll do
              > anyway-- but just examine them briefly and then let them go. The aim is
              > to let the thoughts play out until they don't arise anymore. Relax into
              > this, just let it happen.
              >
              > Another kind of meditation is analytical meditation. This is used when,
              > to use ordinary terms, you're trying to figure something out or when you
              > want to learn something. So it's a little like philosophical
              > contemplation and a little like rigorous study. Rather than banishing
              > all thoughts, you do think about something, but in a focussed way. And
              > you might slip into shamata meditation in order to allow it to enlighten
              > you on the topic. After all, words fail in trying to describe some
              > things (e.g., emptiness), so how could thoughts possible help in
              > understanding them? Yet also we might just want to commit something to
              > memory, something for the most part completely understandable with
              > thoughts. Analytical meditation can help here also, help in accessing
              > that kind of memory which never forgets.
              >
              > As a practical matter, shamata and analytical meditation can be
              > difficult to practice if I have some kind of severe attachment. (And
              > these will be initially difficult for anyone even should they have no
              > such attachments.) If there is some thoughts or feelings, the same ones
              > over and over again, which won't let us clear the mind, then we should
              > deal with those, practice vipassana meditation. After all, if we can't
              > be at peace with these recurring and troubling thoughts, then we can't
              > really succeed in shamata or analytical meditation anyway. So we may as
              > well deal with what's so obviously and urgently in front of us.
              >
              > I don't know if this answers your questions. If not, there are many
              > entire books just on buddhist meditation (several of which I'd like to
              > get to) and many more which at least in part discuss meditation. And
              > perhaps there are others in this group with different takes on the
              > topics, additional information, and/or better answers.
              >
              >
              > --
              > War is a failure of the imagination.
              > --William Blake
              >
              >
              >
              > On 08/31/2011 11:53 PM Don wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > So I have no idea what vipassana is but I have practiced Zen meditation
              > > and TM. In both forms one notices the churning of the mind creating and
              > > recreating thoughts. One notices this also with simple mindfulness. I
              > > suppose meditation is in the category of right concentration although
              > > when one is concentrating on the wall or the mantra or the breath it is
              > > different than when the mind is quiet. So my first question is: In
              > > Buddhism do we make a distinction between concentration and meditation.
              > > Also is the purpose to aid you in right mindfulness because the more I
              > > practice each the more they seem alike.
              > >
              > >
              >

            • Don
              Thank you I was not sure. I suppose I am guilty of the same sensitivity I was accusing others of having. I apologize. I am sure he was trying to help but it
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 2, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                Thank you I was not sure. I suppose I am guilty of the same sensitivity I was accusing others of having. I apologize. I am sure he was trying to help but it was a little over my head. That doc I was talking about did discuss the two kinds of meditations he mentioned and so that was very helpful in getting up to speed.

                --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "levey_steven@..." <levey_steven@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi
                > My remarks were not aimed at you, my friend, but at the gentleman who actually carried on in defense of TM and went on to explain it adfinitum. And actually my email is not negative, merely to the point taken by our "leader".
              • John Pellecchia
                Well stated, Ken. And welcome to the group, Don. An extremely good website (which I am in no way affiliated with) that explains samatha and vipassana
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 2, 2011
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                  Well stated, Ken.

                  And welcome to the group, Don.

                  An extremely good website (which I am in no way affiliated with) that explains samatha and vipassana meditation is http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/ (specifically http://viewonbuddhism.org/meditation_theory.html#4 and http://viewonbuddhism.org/Meditations/dalai_lama_meditation.html ). As with all meditation practices both are best done under the instruction and guidance of a qualified teacher.

                  In my practice samatha is frequently called "calming the mind". Many people think that the idea is to be free of all thought. My personal opinion is that the mind is never *really* calm. While that may be the ultimate goal, I doubt if it can ever be fully realized in samsara by anyone who has not attained enlightenment. Since I haven't reached that status I am ill prepared to to speak with any authority. When I meditate and a thought arises I accept the thought but I don't dwell upon it. It is merely recognized, accepted and put aside as Ken stated.

                  Vipassana is more insightful. To me vipassana meditation is analogous to writing a coherent and cohesive term paper. We select a topic, research it, gather notes, write drafts and finally create the end product. I generally refer to vipassana as mulling over a teaching (be it verbal or text) or a thought provoking idea. Most of us do this type of meditation (call it analytical thinking if you will) on a low level: we read a passage in a text, momentarily close the book, give some thought to what we just read, then reopen the book and continue to read. Expand that momentary introspection like a magnifying lens concentrating the sun's rays and we begin to understand, in my opinion, vipassana meditation.

                  The two meditation techniques work together. We relax the mind as much as possible and then delve deeply into a point for analysis. Spend some time on the website I cited above. The links within it give significantly better explanation and hints than I could ever hope to provide. After spending some time there you may have the impetus to sit and meditate. Better yet, find that teacher who has been seeking you and have him or her guide you.

                  I apologize if I've muddied the waters that I hoped to clarify.
                   
                  "As I am, so are others;
                  as others are, so am I."
                  Having thus identified self and others,
                  harm no one nor have them harmed.

                  (Sutta Nipata 3.710)

                • Don
                  Thank you for the links. I visited the site and it is wonderful. The you tube video is great! So my conclusion is that Samatha is a meditation that is part
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 3, 2011
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                    Thank you for the links. I visited the site and it is wonderful. The you tube video is great! So my conclusion is that Samatha is a meditation that is part of right concentration and Vipassana is a meditation that is part of right mindfulness. I am very happy to learn these words and ideas. They are very helpful. Both the web site and the 4 noble truths document that discuss this warn about samatha in that it can create some frustration. My experience has been that can happen when I become mindful not when I concentrate. When I try to take in everything and analise what is going on I get all kinds of twinges of negative feelings and thoughts. Guilt that is not attached to any wrong doing like low self-esteem and worries about nothing specific just a feeling of general fear. Am I doing it wrong or do these thing extinguish themselves in time?

                    --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, John Pellecchia <pellejf@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Well stated, Ken.
                    >
                    >
                    > And welcome to the group, Don.
                    >
                    >
                    > An extremely good website (which I am in no way affiliated with) that explains samatha and vipassana meditation is http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/ (specifically http://viewonbuddhism.org/meditation_theory.html#4 and http://viewonbuddhism.org/Meditations/dalai_lama_meditation.html ). As with all meditation practices both are best done under the instruction and guidance of a qualified teacher.
                    >
                    > In my practice samatha is frequently called "calming the mind". Many people think that the idea is to be free of all thought. My personal opinion is that the mind is never *really* calm. While that may be the ultimate goal, I doubt if it can ever be fully realized in samsara by anyone who has not attained enlightenment. Since I haven't reached that status I am ill prepared to to speak with any authority. When I meditate and a thought arises I accept the thought but I don't dwell upon it. It is merely recognized, accepted and put aside as Ken stated.
                    >
                    > Vipassana is more insightful. To me vipassana meditation is analogous to writing a coherent and cohesive term paper. We select a topic, research it, gather notes, write drafts and finally create the end product. I generally refer to vipassana as mulling over a teaching (be it verbal or text) or a thought provoking idea. Most of us do this type of meditation (call it analytical thinking if you will) on a low level: we read a passage in a text, momentarily close the book, give some thought to what we just read, then reopen the book and continue to read. Expand that momentary introspection like a magnifying lens concentrating the sun's rays and we begin to understand, in my opinion, vipassana meditation.
                    >
                    > The two meditation techniques work together. We relax the mind as much as possible and then delve deeply into a point for analysis. Spend some time on the website I cited above. The links within it give significantly better explanation and hints than I could ever hope to provide. After spending some time there you may have the impetus to sit and meditate. Better yet, find that teacher who has been seeking you and have him or her guide you.
                    >
                    > I apologize if I've muddied the waters that I hoped to clarify.
                    >
                    >  "As I am, so are others;
                    > as others are, so am I."
                    > Having thus identified self and others,
                    > harm no one nor have them harmed.
                    >
                    > (Sutta Nipata 3.710)
                    >
                  • John Pellecchia
                    Don, Please understand that I am not a Buddhist teacher. I m merely a practitioner. Also, some of what you ask may be dependent upon the tradition that one
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 3, 2011
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                      Don,

                      Please understand that I am not a Buddhist teacher. I'm merely a practitioner. Also, some of what you ask may be dependent upon the tradition that one practices.  That's why I strongly suggest one finds his teacher. If I remember from a prior post you practiced Zen and TM (sorry I am of no help with the latter). I believe you have a good foundation in calm abiding practices since you studied Zen. That being said, I'll try to answer from my perspective for whatever it's worth.

                      You don't mention when you meditate, how and where. This may have some bearing on your concerns.

                      >>When I try to take in everything and analise what is going on I get all kinds of twinges of negative feelings and thoughts.  Guilt that is not attached to any wrong doing like low self-esteem and worries about nothing
                      specific just a feeling of general fear.  Am I doing it wrong or do these thing extinguish themselves in time?

                      Don, focus on samatha for the time being. Sometimes we try to advance too quickly. Don't attempt vipassana at the present. Continue to focus on the basics: the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold Path as you stated earlier. There is no need for "regret" (the term "guilt" reminds me too much of Abrahamic beliefs). If you're counting the breath, you're not doing anything "wrong". Just relax in a comfortable position in a place with little or no distractions. Most find the morning to be an ideal time. The feelings of edginess and fear (maybe "apprehension" is a better term?) will, I believe, dissipate as you progress in practicing samatha.

                      Hope this is of some help.
                       
                      When things become manifest
                      To the ardent meditating brahmin,
                      All one's doubts then vanish since one understands
                      Each thing along with its cause.

                      (Udana 1:1)

                    • spiritual418
                      Namaste, Don ~ The negative feelings are to be expected in any meditative form or spiritual system. It is an integral part of the process of accepting that
                      Message 10 of 11 , Nov 28, 2011
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                        Namaste, Don ~

                        The negative feelings are to be expected in any meditative form or spiritual system. It is an integral part of the process of accepting that there cannot be light without dark. However, the main focus is to analyze those negatives and realize they are merely illusions (maya) that hamper the Will. Negativity cannot and should not merely be stuffered away in the back of the mind, but brought-out, understood for what they are, and annihialated (sic).

                        Sean
                        www.dld.bz/mystica-maxima

                        --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "Don" <donald_e_mathews@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Thank you for the links. I visited the site and it is wonderful. The you tube video is great! So my conclusion is that Samatha is a meditation that is part of right concentration and Vipassana is a meditation that is part of right mindfulness. I am very happy to learn these words and ideas. They are very helpful. Both the web site and the 4 noble truths document that discuss this warn about samatha in that it can create some frustration. My experience has been that can happen when I become mindful not when I concentrate. When I try to take in everything and analise what is going on I get all kinds of twinges of negative feelings and thoughts. Guilt that is not attached to any wrong doing like low self-esteem and worries about nothing specific just a feeling of general fear. Am I doing it wrong or do these thing extinguish themselves in time?
                        >
                        > --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, John Pellecchia <pellejf@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Well stated, Ken.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > And welcome to the group, Don.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > An extremely good website (which I am in no way affiliated with) that explains samatha and vipassana meditation is http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/ (specifically http://viewonbuddhism.org/meditation_theory.html#4 and http://viewonbuddhism.org/Meditations/dalai_lama_meditation.html ). As with all meditation practices both are best done under the instruction and guidance of a qualified teacher.
                        > >
                        > > In my practice samatha is frequently called "calming the mind". Many people think that the idea is to be free of all thought. My personal opinion is that the mind is never *really* calm. While that may be the ultimate goal, I doubt if it can ever be fully realized in samsara by anyone who has not attained enlightenment. Since I haven't reached that status I am ill prepared to to speak with any authority. When I meditate and a thought arises I accept the thought but I don't dwell upon it. It is merely recognized, accepted and put aside as Ken stated.
                        > >
                        > > Vipassana is more insightful. To me vipassana meditation is analogous to writing a coherent and cohesive term paper. We select a topic, research it, gather notes, write drafts and finally create the end product. I generally refer to vipassana as mulling over a teaching (be it verbal or text) or a thought provoking idea. Most of us do this type of meditation (call it analytical thinking if you will) on a low level: we read a passage in a text, momentarily close the book, give some thought to what we just read, then reopen the book and continue to read. Expand that momentary introspection like a magnifying lens concentrating the sun's rays and we begin to understand, in my opinion, vipassana meditation.
                        > >
                        > > The two meditation techniques work together. We relax the mind as much as possible and then delve deeply into a point for analysis. Spend some time on the website I cited above. The links within it give significantly better explanation and hints than I could ever hope to provide. After spending some time there you may have the impetus to sit and meditate. Better yet, find that teacher who has been seeking you and have him or her guide you.
                        > >
                        > > I apologize if I've muddied the waters that I hoped to clarify.
                        > >
                        > >  "As I am, so are others;
                        > > as others are, so am I."
                        > > Having thus identified self and others,
                        > > harm no one nor have them harmed.
                        > >
                        > > (Sutta Nipata 3.710)
                        > >
                        >
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