Author Topic: Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.  (Read 11549 times)

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« on: December 05, 2007, 01:18:09 PM »
Matthew, maybe you could say a bit about the importance of bringing meditation into everyday life?  For a long time I thought that meditation was only sitting cross-legged and focusing on something, I missed the whole point about observing everyday life also. 

Stefan

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2007, 11:33:15 PM »
Paul, you said it! And to anyone who reads this: Paul is right! Where's the point in being full of equanimity and compassionate love on your cushion, and ten minutes later you sit in your car and curse and spite and wish sudden death to the donkey in the car behind you!

Metta even to the donkeys, Stefan
anicca

Matthew

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2007, 07:26:47 AM »
keep it up guys :)
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Matthew

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 08:36:19 PM »
Note to self

Needs something about the Bramavihara to bring in the off the cushion aspect.
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Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2008, 09:38:36 PM »
Matthew, now who the hell is that?   ;D

Matthew

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 06:09:53 AM »
Don't ask me. I don't exist.
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Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 09:02:43 AM »
Paul I googled it and that is what I found

The four Brahmavih?ras are a series of virtues and a Buddhist meditation practices designed to cultivate those virtues. Brahmavih?ra is a term in Pali and Sanskrit meaning “Brahma” abidings”. They are also known as the Four Immeasurables.
(loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity).

1.Metta /Maitri: loving-kindness towards all; the hope that a person will be well; loving kindness is "the wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy.”
2.Karuna: compassion; the hope that a person's sufferings will diminish; compassion is the "wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering."
3.Mudita: altruistic joy in the accomplishments of a person, oneself or other; sympathetic joy, "is the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings."
4.Upeksha: equanimity, or learning to accept both loss and gain, praise and blame, success and failure with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others; equanimity means "not to distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but regard every sentient being as equal. It is a clear-minded tranquil state of mind - not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation."

According to the  Brahmavihara Sutta  Shakyamuni Buddha held that cultivation of the Brahmavih?ras has the power to cause the practitioner to be re-born in the 'realm of the Brahma ' .


The Buddha taught the following to his son Rahula (from "Old path white clouds " by Thich Nhat Hahn):

"Rahula, practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return.
Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.
Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred. Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success.
Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice. Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally. This is because that is. Myself and others are not separate. Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.
I call these the four immeasurables. Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others."



thank you Matthew
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 09:04:42 AM »
And this is a breif brayer that includes them,

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger


 :) Tara
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2008, 09:17:47 AM »
What do you think of the Bramavihara Tara?  I practice them, but not enough I think.  Its so easy to put all one's effort into Samatha/Vipassana because it seems that the path of liberation lies here but I strogly suspect that without Bramavihara practice the path will be even longer and the goal maybe unattainable.

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2008, 09:43:11 AM »
I guess that what Matthew meant by "Needs something about the Bramavihara to bring in the off the cushion aspect" but then unless he started to exist again we won’t know  :)

Metta: I practice Metta everyday as soon as I wakeup and before I go to sleep.
Karuna: Working at it, a year a go I didn’t have any compassion for any one. Sympathy yes but not compassion.
Mudita: Envy takes me away from sympathetic joy, believe it or not I envy the Buddha for being a Buddha.
Upeksh: I fail at times and succeed at others

I think they are all related,. Metta lead me to practice compassion and with metta and compassion I am hoping to cultivate sympathetic joy, Sammatha and Vipassana will eventually lead to equanimity 

"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2008, 10:02:36 AM »
Your practice is far more methodical than mine Tara, and I think its a great idea to practice in the way you do.  When you practice, in general how long do you practice for?  I think you're right, they do seem to be related, sometimes they seem to be parts of a whole.

Today I should be practicing one of them, I have a lesson to learn from all this.  Work seems even more annoying and petty than usual, everyone getting wound up about what seems to me to be petty details.  Yet the fact they get would up is winding me up and my mind is passing judgement as if its on a pedastal above everyone.  I can just about keep to observing the whole thing without getting dragged into the the cauldron and losing it; I hope I can learn the lesson from this whatever it might be!

Matthew

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2008, 11:03:13 AM »
Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist
Note to self

Needs something about the Bramavihara to bring in the off the cushion aspect.

Matthew, now who the hell is that?   ;D

Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist
Don't ask me. I don't exist.

I thought Paul was making a joke about "note to self" as I witter on about no-self so much. haha

Point re the Brahmavihara was in regards to Paul's note about bringing meditation into daily life. To my thoughts the Brahmavihara is where "bringing it off the cushion" is at. Holding the Bramavihara in mind, with the mindfulness one develops on the cushion, ones behaviour towards others naturally manifests differently as practise progresses.

We covered what the Brahmavihara are in a thread started by Paul called What about Brahmavihara?.

:D
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Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2008, 11:56:27 AM »
I thought Paul was making a joke about "note to self" as I witter on about no-self so much. haha

I think you are absolutely right and I stand corrected. I have never read that post and I thought I have read every word on this forum.  :-[
sorry Paul got it wrong I have mistaken who for what . me speak no English that is why
or this is my excuse anyway

Your practice is far more methodical than mine Tara, and I think its a great idea to practice in the way you do.  When you practice, in general how long do you practice for?
 

I didn't realize this before but my background had prepared me for this practise all my life. I studied science for over 12 years so that where the methodical thinking comes from. and the army training gave me the self discipline and stamina to carry on no matter what.
I do two hours a day, one as soon as I wake up starting with Metta and one before I go to bed. I do metta or anapana if I can't sleep. and I try to be aware of the breath during the day. Some days I do very well and some days I fail miserably.
Gosh, I sound like a goody two-shoes, but I am not in fact despite all this I still suffer through a lot of things on and off the cushion. How about you Paul

« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 11:58:41 AM by Green Tara »
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Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2008, 12:05:22 PM »
Today I should be practicing one of them, I have a lesson to learn from all this.  Work seems even more annoying and petty than usual, everyone getting wound up about what seems to me to be petty details.  Yet the fact they get would up is winding me up and my mind is passing judgement as if its on a pedastal above everyone.  I can just about keep to observing the whole thing without getting dragged into the the cauldron and losing it; I hope I can learn the lesson from this whatever it might be!

When that happens to me I sometimes manage to just be aware of the wound up feeling and stay with that and also I do Anapana.that helps me sometimes not to react from those feelings.

keep me posted
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2008, 01:52:02 PM »
Matthew was right, it was a joke or anyway a half joke.  Its a question I contemplate more and more, its become like a koan and helps with detachment and equanimity (which I need today!).   

I try to meditate twice a day for an hour each time, giving 1 hour to samatha/vipassana and 1 hour to a Brahmavihara.  But with a young family and a wife who doesn't understand why I meditate its not easy to spend this amount of time sitting, and I often end up with 1 session per day, and with my 1 session per day its nearly always samatha/vipassana.  Like you I try to rest with the breath all the time and my degree of success varies from day-to-day.

I seem to have weathered the storm today, its calmer around here and I managed to observe all the way through.  There was even a lot of greed that arose at lunchtime that I was able to observe too, so I guess today is excellent so far :o)

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2008, 03:56:52 PM »
I seem to have weathered the storm today, its calmer around here and I managed to observe all the way through.  There was even a lot of greed that arose at lunchtime that I was able to observe too, so I guess today is excellent so far :o)

Dear Paul,
well done for today.

Your challenge is much much harder then mine I salute you for the effort. your are so involved in life and you still find time to sit and you know a lot about the theroy of the practice.

My life is a lot easier than yours. I am married and my husband is very supportive and totally understands why I need to meditate not just because of what I said but also because of the positive changes he is seeing.  I don’t have children and not planning on having any. I don’t own anything and I live a very simple life. So I have all the time in the world to do what I need to do. I don’t know if I had your challenge I would be able to rise to it.
how many children do you have?



« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 03:57:39 PM by Green Tara »
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2008, 04:11:58 PM »
Thank you Tara, its kind of you to say all that.  Whether its easier or not I don't know.  Each life must have its advantages and disadvantages, but for sure a family life and being caught up in the rat race materially, even if not mentally don't help.  I have two boys, 9 and 7.  They're really cool about me meditating, and in general if I ask them to leave me alone for an hour to meditate they will.  My wife was quite supportive of it but her support has lessened recently, I think she has forgotten about the state I was in before I started meditating.  I think her support will be cyclic anyway, both states of support and non-support being impermanent  :)  I am really lucky in that I live in a beautiful area with the southern Alps within 1/2 hour and I can walk to the foothills of the southern Alps from my house in a matter of minutes - so I get up in the mountains quite a lot and meditate or just be mindful there and that's where I seem to realise the greatest progress on this path.  I'm incredibly lucky to have that because without that space and emptyness around me I guess my life would have been so distracted that I would never have heard of the Dhamma :)

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 02:24:08 PM »
I am really lucky in that I live in a beautiful area with the southern Alps within 1/2 hour and I can walk to the foothills of the southern Alps from my house in a matter of minutes - so I get up in the mountains quite a lot and meditate or just be mindful there and that's where I seem to realise the greatest progress on this path. 

You are really lucky, I would swap countries with you any time  :)
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 09:07:09 PM »
   

I try to meditate twice a day for an hour each time, giving 1 hour to samatha/vipassana and 1 hour to a Brahmavihara. 

Paul, how do you do the 1 hour Brahmavihara?
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2008, 09:44:57 PM »
For metta I let the feeling come by itself if it will.  Then I focus it on a mentor, a friend, a neutral person and a difficult person in turn.  I sometimes use phrases to wish them freedom from harm, happiness, calm etc, whatever feels apprioriate, sometimes the metta flows by itself without phrases towards them.  I try to connect.  After the individuals, I radiate out to groups of people, starting with all the inhabitants of the village, then the country, then the world, then onto animals, insects birds and fish - all living beings.  Not forgetting of course the rats and cockroaches  :)  After that, I finish by myself, then just sit in the metta for a while and let it flow out to wherever/whatever/whoever.  For compassion I try to find someone who is in a lot of suffering who I know, or at least see regularily, and feel compassion for their situation.  Then I go onto a situation where someone is causing the suffering of someone else, and feel compassion for both people.  Then I go onto someone I really don't like who causes suffering to others, and feel compassion for them (understanding that their lives can't great if they act like that).  I rarely bother with sympathetic joy, but when I do its like metta but just with the 4 people, feeling joy for them in certain aspects of their lives. 

They are always close variations on those themes.  Sometimes they are incredibly porwerful, have but most often its a bit of a battle to keep concentrated on anything other than the breath.   I've found them incredibly valuable, even just in mundane everyday life for breaking down that separatedness I used to have (I used to really have a lot of it!) being able to really listen to people when they talk, and overcoming my pre-conceptions about people.  Its also given me a greater closeness to animals, less of a separation somehow.

What about you, do you use similar methods?  Do you find they change things in your life too? 

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2008, 10:29:46 PM »
Do I have to do it for cockroaches, I have cockroaches phobia  ::)

I only practice Metta, as soon as I wake up and before I go to bed, I do it maybe ten mins (I don’t really time myself).  like you I radiate it out of my body. Starting first with myself and then my husband, my parents, my siblings, relatives and so on till it goes to all living beings. I wish them well happiness and peace. I wish that may no harm come to them and may they have patients courage understanding and determination to meet and to overcome inevitable difficulties and problems in life.
Then I start then I do vipassana.


I am not really sure if the change in my life is due to Metta, meditation or the fact that I am more aware of what goes around.

do you sit still for the whole hour?
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2008, 08:54:52 AM »
Well, it should be directed a every living being  :)  Mind you, I find it easier to direct metta at cockroaches than to some politicians.  I haven't even attempted the CEO of the company I work for yet  :-[   Anyway it seems that our methods are very similar - start small than radiate out. 

I sit still for the whole hour when I can, but I often do 5 minutes walking meditation after 1/2 hour or even just stand and stay meditaing for a while to straighten my legs out.   I said I did an hour, however whatever meditation I do it takes me between 10 and 30 minutes mindfulness of breathing to get my mind still enough to meditate without constant thought interference.

Green Tara

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2008, 05:58:32 PM »
Oh I didn’t know politicians were included in the all living beings  :D, giving the choice I would gladly send metta to the cockroaches.
"cockroaches may you be happy, well and peaceful"
 I didn’t know about Brahmavihara at all so I am glad I made the mistake in posting. I will give it a try and see what it does. Mind you I think it would be more powerful to do it off the cushion and be aware of it during the day.
Metta to you
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 09:51:00 PM by Green Tara »
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.  Enter the great city of liberation”

Matthew

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2008, 07:47:30 PM »
I didn’t know about Brahmavihara at all so I am glad I made the mistake in posting. I will give it a try and see what it does. Mind you I think it would be more powerful to do it off the cushion and be aware of it during the day.
Metta to you

Hence my earlier post :)

Note to self

Needs something about the Bramavihara to bring in the off the cushion aspect.

The Brahmavihara are best practiced every single moment you can remember to :)

Matthew
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Paul

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Re: Meditation: Some basics for beginners.
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2008, 10:07:34 PM »
Tara, if you're interested theres an excellent book on the subject - Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg.  After I'll stop recommending books if not you're going to think I've got shares in amazon  :-[

You're right Matthew and Tara, its best to do it whenever you can I guess.  The thing is it didn't occur to me until I started practicing Brahmavihara on the cushion, but I realise now that I was living in a bubble more than most people do, and the Brahmavihara bought me out of the bubble very efficiently.  Now I've learned to listen and just be there with people and its making my social life much more healthy.  I should have started this stuff ages ago, its so positive all round and its been around for 2500-odd years - how can it be that this has been so ignored and complete ignorance and materialism favoured instead???