The Fundamentals of Meditation are-
· The Mind is thinking carefully about thinking and thinking: pondering about this, wondering about that, turning over assorted problems. Indulging in these suppositions and notions gives the mind no rest.
· Being aware of the thinking mind is defined (by the Lord Buddha) as mindfulness (sati).
· The knowledge of the mind occupied in thinking about something is clear comprehension (sampajanna) and judgment.
· We need to train mindfulness and clear comprehension so that they become swift enough to keep up with the mind. If mindfulness is still weak it will be unable to match up against the speed of the mind, and samadhi can't then progress. The mind can't be brought together with the selected meditation object; it can't concentrate on the in-and out-breathing.
· Instead it continues on its own way with mindful awareness lagging behind, unable to catch up. We almost manage to bring it in but it then slips away to (thought of) 'America', and upon following it we find its already back in 'Thailand'
or 'Germany' and so on. We can but chase after yet never catch up because mindfulness remains undeveloped and immature. It can't match the mind. This is the source of problem in the development of our meditation practice. It is therefore essential to improve and cultivate mindfulness.
The Cultivation of mindfulness starts from being aware of the current bodily posture. If standing, be mindful of that. Walking, sitting or lying down- be present with that movement and posture. Bathing, eating or excreting be fully aware of what is going on. This constant awareness of bodily actions brings mindfulness and clear comprehension to the forefront.
Once this skill is developed you will become aware of changing postures as different activities occur: working on the job, washing clothes or dishes, reading or writing, sewing or knitting. Whatever you are involved with be present with that activity while you are doing it. Don't allow the mind to wander away. This is how mindfulness develops is daily life.
You will now find mindfulness becoming swifter and sharper, able to recognize and catch the fleeting mind. Wherever your mind may go mindfulness will follow and return with it to the object of meditation. Being more practiced you will now succeed in concentrating on the in-and breath. Whenever the mind wanders away you will catch up with it and bring it back together with the breathing.
Now skilful and sharp endowed with mindfulness, you will bring the mind and its wayward thinking to reflect on the breathing until it comes into view. At the time the breath is actually seen, the mind is present there together with the breath. Without such vision the mind must be elsewhere and yet if you bring them together again you should be able to understand about this. Whatever, if the mind isn't with the breath it's off rambling and concocting.
Those who can bring the mind to reflect on the breath with relative ease will find that it becomes still quiet with the breath going in and out. There is awareness of a heavier or softer, longer or shorter inhalation and exhalation, as breath succeeds breath. This knowledge and awareness indicate the mind is together with the breath. It should be understood in this way. If it only happens a litter and briefly before separating, then this is defined as momentary concentration (khanika-samadhi).
You should then pull the mind back to reflect again on the breath. Together again for a longer period the breath seems much more refined, almost as if there isn't any at all. You can't find it! It's at this point that people fear death: "Where is my breath gone?" "It was here just now
" And so they come out of samadhi. They withdraw being afraid they will die.
Don't go and be so afraid. The breathing is still there only it's extremely subtle and refined. But there's no need to go searching for it. Direct you mindfulness and discernment to the mind and return it to the meditation object. Go and examine: exactly where does the heart or mind have its origin? Where does its thinking arise?
What is the feeling of happiness and contentment currently been experience like? At that moment you have found the heat. Now direct it to the chest area or some such point. Place the pleasant feeling which the heart is experiencing there, and support it with your mindfulness and discernment. Keep your reflection there, let that be where any 'thinking' occurs. In this way a deeper, more profound tranquility will develop until the level of access concentration (upacara samadhi) is reached.
At this point some people may experience a bright radiance. But if nothing happens for you, don't feel discouragement. The practice of meditation is not concern with the desire to see any manifestations. Don't fabricate any expectations about seeing a bright light or any such thing.
Do not speculate about what may be going to happen. The state of tranquility will develop in its own way and whatever happens, happens. Never crave for a vision of heaven and hell for that type of wishful thinking will itself block any approach to tranquility.
Anyone who finds concentration easy to manage will certainly experience ease and happiness as soon as the heart is still and tranquil. You will realize for the first time what happiness is all about.
This state must also include rapture (piti) though it may manifest in a different manner for different people. Your hair may tingle all over and 'stand on end'; or a sense of coolness refreshes the heart; or you may feel as if enveloped in soft cotton wool; or as though a flash of lighting precedes the coolness; or the body seems so light and buoyant that it might float away.
The meditation teacher can't order or control this sort of experience. They are termed 'the buoyant body and the buoyant mind! Why should the calm mind be so light and buoyant? It's because it has released the hindrances (nirvana) and is free of such burdens. Endeavor to support and sustain this state of mind.
I would like you to bypass the affair of voices heard in this state. They sound a bit indistinct like over long distance telephone lines. You may actually seem to see and hear both local and distant conversations concerning yourself. However they cut off when the mind either goes deeper or withdraw from that particular level of calm.
The mind just happened to be properly tuned in, so don't go around boasting of your clairaudience or Clairvision. Some people may not want to experience such images but whatever appears depends on the nature of the concentrated mind itself.
On leaving these things behind, the tranquility deepens, by the hour, the physical body will seem to drop completely away. No arms or legs: you don't notice your hands or body. Wherever are they? There's the temptation to open your eyes to check but don't bother about doing that. Never mind about those things. Come and look closely at your heart to check what object it rests with, and sustain it there. Tremendous happiness is prominent and vividly present. This is attainment concentration (apana samadhi) where the mind is enraptured and engrossed in that buoyant state, free from all hindrances.
There is no hunger or thirst, no wanting of any external object only the desire to stay with that happiness, never experienced before. This spiritual happiness attained through samadhi puts all gross worldly affairs and desires out of mind; business and work concerns are completely thrown out.
Should attainment concentration continue in sublime happiness letting go of all else, then it is called absorption (jhana). This serenity is only a litter different from the state of equanimity (upekkha).
At this point, the question of other people comes up: 'has anyone else experienced what I have? 'How can they manage to do so?' this is the time to be extra careful so that you don't start flaunting your knowledge. It's all too easy to become sidetracked here so stay prepared and alert to this matter.
Many people go off the rails and become crazy, telling all and sundry, "It's such real happiness
You must do this!
You should do that!
" Forestall this with mindfulness and discernment. Don't go around preaching --- you're not enlightened yet.
Examine and remember the sequence of steps you have taken to achieve this level of samadhi. Next time you will then be able to retrace the way with ease and greater skill. Notice how you establish mindfulness and clear comprehension right from the beginning of your practice. How was the mind placed? What was developed and what disregarded? When the deeper level of samadhi was reached, how was the mind sustained in attainment concentration?
When coming again to the practice you will immediately be able to deal with anything that intrudes. Such things are disposed of in the same way as before and the previous state becomes established again. A person skilled in this way will be proficient in doing this under any circumstances; traveling by car, ship or plane, wherever he might be sitting. Whichever country, it's all the same. Once expert in entering and withdrawing from meditation it all seems easily and swiftly accomplished. The hindrances no longer come into the picture at all.
There are some people though who find it difficult to concentrate their minds. No matter how they try, the mind always seems to wander away. They should keep mindfulness on the mind's trail until it tires. It really can't escape for it is stuck on thinking about money or a car, or a house, or the children or grandchildren and near friends.
As soon as it fastens onto some such object, mindfulness and discernment must follow and catch it there. Interrogate it immediately about its possessiveness; "Why be so grasping and attached to this (for example) house ? Is it even yours? "The answer will come back, "certainly, it's mine."
Mindfulness and wisdom must then probe and examine the mind with, "Then when you die will you take it with you? "If it should admit the impossibility of that, then follow up with, "Then why be so preoccupied with it; it's solidly built and isn't going to run away."
The mind must be reprimanded and when necessary brought to order by intimidation. Such threats will leave the mind baffled and dazed and it can then be led back to the meditation object, concentrating on the breathing. This is the way of wisdom developing samadhi, for those who find concentration difficult. It means using the right and most appropriate tactic, the best skilful means that accords with the situation.
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