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  • danielneal73
    venerable monks, i have studied zen for a few years, but the last year i have become student of the theravada teachings. i learned a vipassana method taught
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 13, 2006
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      venerable monks,

      i have studied zen for a few years, but the last year i have become
      student of the theravada teachings. i learned a vipassana method
      taught by a monk who is a student of the most venerable chanmay
      sayadaw. i feel that this teaching is the path to freedom for me.

      as i do not have access to a teacher regularly, i would like to
      describe my practice to you venerable sirs, to see if i am on the
      right path.

      1. i do about 40 minutes to 1 hour of walking meditation prior to
      sitting(when time allows, sometimes i can just sit for 20 to 40 minutes).

      2. when sitting the best way i can describe my experience is in the
      language of the suttas- aware of breathing in i breathe in, aware of
      breathing out i breathe out, aware of the arising and ceasing of
      mental an physical phenomena.

      3. when a phenomena becomes very strong, such as pain or i am
      caried away by a thought, i turn my awareness to the proccess and
      energetically note it.

      4. i try to mantain this open and aware mind at all times, and am
      getting better at catching unwholesome states as they arise.

      5. i am also trying to cut back onreading all the different
      meditation pages on the web, as i have noticed sometimes my faith in
      the technique i have learned is shaken.

      6. lastly, is jhana and loving kindess(brahama vihara) something
      developed or naturally arising from correct practice?

      thank you for your time.

      danny
    • Bhikkhu Pesala
      Hi Danny ... I am also a pupil of Chanmyay Sayadaw. He is one of the best vipassana teachers for English speaking meditators. ... Teaching via the internet is
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 31, 2006
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        Hi Danny

        > i have studied zen for a few years, but the last year i have become
        > student of the theravada teachings. i learned a vipassana method
        > taught by a monk who is a student of the most venerable chanmay
        > sayadaw. i feel that this teaching is the path to freedom for me.

        I am also a pupil of Chanmyay Sayadaw. He is one of the best vipassana
        teachers for English speaking meditators.

        > as i do not have access to a teacher regularly, i would like to
        > describe my practice to you venerable sirs, to see if i am on the
        > right path.

        Teaching via the internet is difficult, but if there is no other way it
        will have to do.

        > 1. i do about 40 minutes to 1 hour of walking meditation prior to
        > sitting(when time allows, sometimes i can just sit for 20 to 40
        minutes).

        That's good - walking meditation is very helpful to develop mindfulness.

        > 2. when sitting the best way i can describe my experience is in the
        > language of the suttas- aware of breathing in i breathe in, aware of
        > breathing out i breathe out, aware of the arising and ceasing of
        > mental an physical phenomena.

        This suprises me. I wonder who your teacher was, and why he/she told you
        to concentrate on the respiration? It is not the method usually taught by
        Chanmyay Sayadaw. He usually teaches the Mahasi method, which means
        contemplating the rising and falling of the abdomen. However, one can
        also develop insight through respiration mindfulness. Please see Chanmyay
        Sayadaw's three articles on my website:

        http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Other/Anapana/anapana.html

        > 3. when a phenomena becomes very strong, such as pain or i am
        > caried away by a thought, i turn my awareness to the proccess and
        > energetically note it.

        Right. Do not try to ignore secondary objects, but note them
        energetically and precisely

        > 4. i try to mantain this open and aware mind at all times, and am
        > getting better at catching unwholesome states as they arise.
        >
        > 5. i am also trying to cut back onreading all the different
        > meditation pages on the web, as i have noticed sometimes my faith in
        > the technique i have learned is shaken.

        This is a big problem with self-study and with teaching via the web. When
        the teacher explains one thing, someone else comes along and says, "Don't
        do that, do this." They don't even answer the question asked, but just
        state their own views and opinions. Therefore, it is best to ask specific
        questions, and just ignore any irrelevant answers. Otherwise you will get
        side-tracked and become confused.

        > 6. lastly, is jhana and loving kindess(brahama vihara) something
        > developed or naturally arising from correct practice?

        To obtain jhana, one must strive for it. The technique is different to
        the pure vipassana method, which does not normally lead to samatha jhana.
        Momentary concentration, which is access concentration, not absorption
        concentration, is sufficient to practise the pure vipassana method. As
        long as the five hindrances are suppressed, that is good enough.

        Loving-kindness meditation is also samatha meditation, which can lead to
        jhana if practised diligently. It recommended to practise it to calm the
        mind prior to practising vipassana meditation (bare awareness or
        mindfulness meditation) if the mind is agitated through anxiety, fear, or
        anger. Otherwise, one can immediately start with awareness of the five
        aggregates such as rising and falling, seeing, hearing, feeling,
        thinking, etc.

        Loving-kindness meditation is benefical everywhere. It is easy to
        practise in daily life whenever you have a few moments to spare. However,
        by itself, it will never lead to insight, but it produces the right
        conditions that help insight to arise - that is a calm, pure, and
        concentrated state of mind. The way to gain insight is to focus this
        calm, pure, and concentrated mind on each and every mental and physical
        phenomenon without missing any of them. Constant and uninterrupted
        mindfulness of mental and physical phenomena will lead to insight.

        If one can gain insight, loving-kindness will be a natural and
        spontaneous response when one meets other living beings who are also
        subject to suffering, just like ourselves.
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