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I would like to have a detailed list of the steps in Mindfulness of Breathing meditation.

What is a good suggested duration?

11

Steps differ by every teaching lineage. But a basic outline would look like this:

  1. Focus on the breath and recognize it as breath, without the thought, this is me, this is mine, this is what I am, this is good, this is bad, etc.
  2. If the mind wanders from the breath, acknowledge the thought in some system of categorizing objects that arise in the experience. The Satipatthana Sutta outlines a neat and tidy system for categorizing such objects.
  3. Return to focusing on the breath.
  4. Repeat 1-3 for duration of practice.

As for duration of practice, do what your body and mind can handle, and work upwards from there. Start with 5 minutes, and if that's easy, try 10 or 15. Try 30 or 60 minutes. But there's no substitute for having a teacher.

On a meditation course, my teacher had me practice 50 minutes of walking meditation, then 50 minutes of sitting meditation, repeating indefinitely. Back in the ordinary world I tend to keep it at 30 minutes (15 walking, 15 sitting).

If you study under a teacher, you will find that every teaching lineage has their own specific steps. For example in the Mahasi Sayadaw school we don't just focus on the breath. We start with rising and falling of the abdomen, and then as skill develops we include recognition of sitting, and then recognition of various points on the body. Out of respect for the teachers I don't want to go into too much detail as I am not a meditation teacher, just a practitioner.

3

In the Theravada school there are sixteen steps in total:

"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

They aren't necessarily purely sequential however. Here's a list of several works by prominent Theravada meditation teachers on how to practice Anapanasati:

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajahn_Brahm-Mindfulness_Bliss_and_Beyond-Chapters1-5.pdf http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/EachAndEveryBreath_v130123.pdf http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Buddhadasa_Bhikkhu-Anapanasati.pdf

Within classical Theravada the definitive guide to the practice of Anapanasati is found one of the Chapters of the Visuddhimagga, the great manual of Theravada meditation and doctrine. You can find the whole Visuddhimagga here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/PathofPurification2011.pdf Starting on Anapanasati on Page 317

Here is a basic introduction to Anapanasati by a Monk in the Ajahn Chah Thai Forest Tradition in a video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8883E3B0A0F5587A

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Close your eyes, and breathe. Think about waves or palm trees. Think about your day, and how to make it better. Think about the negatives things in your life then think about letting it go, and all the positive comments, well say it to yourself! breathe in, blow out. Blue skies in, gray skies out. Try it, become less stress and be a new person that is always his/her self, and become a person who is refreshed, and ready to go. Look for that sunset behind the mountains.

  • 1
    this is a relaxation technique.The OP needed specific instruction on mindfulness of breathing. – Orion Mar 6 '15 at 5:53
  • 1
    This isn't meditation, this is daydreaming. I know some people have mistaken the two, which is why we have people listening to whale songs while visualizing they're on a cloud of energy and deluding themselves into thinking they're meditating. They ain't. – R. Barzell Mar 6 '15 at 15:29

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