Author Topic: What do you think about buddhist meditation?  (Read 9948 times)

snow

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What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« on: January 08, 2010, 04:55:38 PM »
There is a lot of similarities between the teachings of Gautama Buddha and Sri Ramana Maharshi. But however their methods are quite different.

Sri Bhagavan thaught self enquiry as way the to enlightenment and Nisargadatta Maharaj's realized the Self without "following any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am'"

The Buddha however gave very different instuctions. According to him the mindfulness of breathing is the way to liberation.  (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html)
This differs quite lot from self enquiry in the way that buddhist mediation is gradually taming the mind and developing the mind (and it doesn't envolve enquiry Who am I ofcourse). As Buddha says in Dhammapada:

Restrained Mind Leads To Happiness

    The mind is very hard to check
    and swift, it falls on what it wants.
    The training of the mind is good,
    a mind so tamed brings happiness.



However Nisargadatta said that there is no such thing as peace of mind! We must go beyond mind and it doesn't matter what kind of mind we leave behind us. So why I'm talking about is, is because I've practiced zen buddhist meditation for two years now. It has helped me to overcome lot of my obsessions and depression. But I still haven't had many insights and I feel that zazen gives me relief, but not release. And outside meditation cushion I don't feel too peaceful or joyful. I'm still thinking about continuing it and practicing it alongside with self enquiry. But is it necessary? Can I get the same benefits from self enquiry?

Subramanian.R

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 06:14:59 PM »
I am not an expert in Buddhist meditation techniques.  But I
feel that mindfulness of the breath, helps one to ward off other
thoughts.  This is also in Yoga marga of Patanjali.  Bhagavan
Ramana says:  Breath control brings about control of mind but
not total destruction of thoughts (mind).  When breath control
is discontinued after the usual sitting, the mind again jumps out
and makes a riot with all vasanas.  Vasanas are thoughts imbedded
in the subconscious, waiting for a chance to come out.

Arunachala Siva.

rideforever

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 10:30:27 PM »
This is a good question that I also have been thinking about.  To expand the question : what 'practices' other than self-enquiry are acceptable ?  Any ?  None ?

Currently I am regularly doing asana, pranayama, kundalini meditation, psychotherapy, yoga nidra, mindfulness meditation, bhakti, and self-enquiry. 

I feel that working on all levels is preparing the soil and using the body, mind and heart to reach the goal.  Karma, bhakti, jnana.  And I check with self-enquiry if I am ready.  If I am not then I prepare more.  Then self-enquiry again - am I ready ?  If not more preparation etc...

* Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!  Spears shall be shaken, Shields shall be splintered,
* A sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
* Ride now, ride for ruin and the world's ending                                       
* Death !!  Death !!  Death !!

Subramanian.R

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2010, 08:55:08 AM »
Dear rideforever,

Yes, all are good.  Bhagavan Ramana did not much recommend
Raja Yoga marga, because this method is considered tough and
any mistake will result in negative consequences. The Kundalini
Power is a double edged sword and one has to be exteremely
cautious about it.  But Sri Sankara did recommend.  In case of
Kavyakanta Ganapati Sastri, he had this unbearable burning sensation in the crown when he was practising in Tiruvottiyur
and Bhagavan Ramana had to go in his subtle body skyward
and place His hand on Sastri's skull, to quell the heat and burning
sensation. 

With an experienced teacher, the Raja Yoga is quite good. 

Arunachala Siva.

silentgreen

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 09:47:47 AM »
When a mind is restrained, it will try to recede towards its source and vanish  uncovering the spiritual heart which is pure consciousness. The effect of controlling the breath is the same since the "source" of both breath and mind is same. However without attaining purity by giving up desires and practising devotion, the mind will revolt when trying to restrain. With purity, mind control itself becomes redundant since it is felt more and more from within that one is more of pure consciousness than mind. God is directing the show from the heart, and mind is only a "camping site" to carry on the day to day works.

All practices have their own good points. The final goal is the same whether it is approached in a straight path or a little roundabout way.
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

amiatall

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2010, 04:23:13 PM »
Every practice leads to self-inquiry, wanted or unwanted.
Every practice takes object, but for object to exist there must be subject, so why don't inquire subject right away? It will bring everything other practices give.
One tries to control breath, thus controls mind, but who is that which controls ?
It is advisable to practice other practices if one feels that vasanas are overhelming him (again who?).
But if one (who?) has already the nerves of steel and can witness whatever comes to him (who?) untouched, that is enough.
The time comes when consciousness are thrown to such places that one (who?) doesn't want to even think about, thus if one (who?) is very reactive it can bring a break down in ones psyche, and that is the reason why scriptures and various teachers advise to get familiar with the mind at least on the conscious level.
Self-inquiry is beautiful because:
1. it is very simple and NATURAL.
2. you don't need to know anything, you just jump on the train and that's all there is to be done. The train will carry everything.
The witnessing stage will be there so long as there are something to be witnessed. When everything is witnessed, the witness will drop right away, because it is the mind which took the role of witness and dissolved because the role (wooden spoon) does not have a play anymore.

It is like Nissargadatta says: "It is crude but works." or "Don't be mistaken about its simplicity [it works]".

I'm still thinking about continuing it and practicing it alongside with self enquiry. But is it necessary? Can I get the same benefits from self enquiry?

One could ask instead: "whether other practices is any help to self-inquiry?" because if you want a 'release' then self-inquiry is your goal and method and everything else is just an effort to not be released but instead be entertained with various states of mind...





rideforever

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2010, 04:29:48 PM »
Hmm.  Nisargadatta believed his guru and following his teachings.  But is this possible for everyone ? 

Perhaps Nisargadatta had certain vasanas that caused him to following teachings very closely and achieved the end.  He was lucky to be conditioned in such a way.

If you are conditioned so that you do not following teachings, then what can be done ?
* Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!  Spears shall be shaken, Shields shall be splintered,
* A sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
* Ride now, ride for ruin and the world's ending                                       
* Death !!  Death !!  Death !!

Subramanian.R

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2010, 04:47:27 PM »
Dear rideforever,

If one is not able to follow Guru's teachings due to his conditioning
that is, vasanas, nothing can be done.  Many people came to Bhagavan Ramana and only a few stuck to Him.  Certain visitors who
came with their friends (who were ardent devotees) came in, saw
the trees, monkeys, peacocks and the Hill and a glance at Maharshi
and then left for market to buy brinjals*.  They came in the evening
to the Asramam to get back to their town as per programme.

* Even today, Tiruvannamalai is known for its brinjals, palmyra
fruits (Nongu in Tamil) and tomatoes and cotton dhotis.

Arunachala Siva.   

amiatall

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2010, 06:05:00 PM »
What is beautiful about self-inquiry is that anyone can follow it at any place, any time, any condition.
It is not bound.

matthias

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2010, 09:58:42 PM »
mindfullness of breath is called shamata or shine meditation...and this is the primary meditation of hinayana (the smaller vehicle of buddhism) it is said to take aeons and millions of lifetimes to realize buddhanature in this way :)

so saying shamata is buddhist meditation is true but a very partial truth.



soham3

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2010, 06:38:22 PM »
Eckhart Tolle's NOW, Grounding of Western schools, Mindfulness of buddhists, assertions of vedantins  and self-enquiry are all cousins.
O Divine, lead me to dizzy heights of sublimity & loftiness

mai_chop_gohok

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 04:02:06 AM »
@ matthias

if vajrayana would work for u, u would not be here.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 04:04:23 AM by mai_chop_gohok »

snow

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 08:30:19 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts.

I am not an expert in Buddhist meditation techniques.  But I
feel that mindfulness of the breath, helps one to ward off other
thoughts.  This is also in Yoga marga of Patanjali.  Bhagavan
Ramana says:  Breath control brings about control of mind but
not total destruction of thoughts (mind).  When breath control
is discontinued after the usual sitting, the mind again jumps out
and makes a riot with all vasanas.  Vasanas are thoughts imbedded
in the subconscious, waiting for a chance to come out.

Arunachala Siva.
Actually there is no controlling of breath in the meditation that the Buddha thaught. One is just aware of the breath.

Quote
mindfullness of breath is called shamata or shine meditation...and this is the primary meditation of hinayana (the smaller vehicle of buddhism) it is said to take aeons and millions of lifetimes to realize buddhanature in this way Smiley

so saying shamata is buddhist meditation is true but a very partial truth.
After the some level of peace has been attained, vipassana (insight meditation) naturally starts.

I think that one of the differences between self enquiry and buddhist meditation is that in buddhism formal sitting meditation is considered essential. In some places there may even be 20(!) hours of meditation a day. Sri Bhagavan on the other hand said that formal meditation is for the merest beginner. There have been also buddhists masters like zen master Dogen who said that

"Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions; they have not discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma."

But still he recommended zazen (meditation) to be done four times a day and he said that sitting is the gateway of truth to total liberation.


And also zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine" where as Nisargadatta said:

"What harm is there in making automatic, what is habitual and repetitive (daily life)? It is automatic anyhow. But when it is also chaotic, it causes pain and suffering and calls for attention. The entire purpose of a clean and well-ordered life is to liberate man from the thraldom of chaos and the burden of sorrow.

Q: You seem to be in favour of a computerised life.

M: What is wrong with a life which is free from problems? Personality is merely a reflection of the real. Why should not the reflection be true to the original as a matter of course, automatically? Need the person have any designs of its own? The life of which it is an expression will guide it. Once you realise that the person is merely a shadow of the reality, but not reality itself, you cease to fret and worry. You agree to be guided from within and life becomes a journey into the unknown."



Nisargadatta also said that this environment that is seen by the senses is just a tiny point in his consciousness. Buddhism in my opinion is basically coming back to the senses.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 08:32:31 PM by snow »

rideforever

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 06:04:12 PM »
Dear rideforever,
If one is not able to follow Guru's teachings due to his conditioning
that is, vasanas, nothing can be done. 

Dear Subramanian R.

I think this is not correct.  The Guru's teachings are a vasana, so something can be done.

Unfortunately it appears that some vasanas might lead to salvation.  I someone explains even the rudimentary idea of self-enquiry to someone else ... that is itself a vasana.

Clearly the situation is difficult and very subtle.  In order to remove all vasanas we might have to follow some good vasanas (self-enquiry) and then at then end try to remove even these ones.  Making a mistake, getting lost, or falling into illusion, must be a great great danger.

If the truth is pulling you from the other side then that would be helpful.
* Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!  Spears shall be shaken, Shields shall be splintered,
* A sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
* Ride now, ride for ruin and the world's ending                                       
* Death !!  Death !!  Death !!

matthias

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Re: What do you think about buddhist meditation?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2010, 01:31:30 AM »
dear mai chop wok

it works for me, but ramana is still my guru.. and I enjoy the conversations here

so I dont draw a line between these two...my sadhana is from tibetan buddhism, but the "view" is so close and similar that it makes really not a big difference if I write here or somewhere else.

you see this is in a way my internet sangha, and very dear to me
I mean I started writing/reading here when I didnt know much about this religion
but bhagawan in a way "told" me that I will meet different teachers and that they are in reallity himself...so it carried me in this direction.. and I dont really question it, feels right and good for me