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I am meditating for the last three months, about 30 mins a day (or a little longer than that). I followed Ajahn Brahm's "Basic Method of Meditation" to bring the mind to be in the present relatively steadily (still it wanders, but not like when I started the practice). I started with trying to quiet the mind (too much internal thought etc.) by keeping my attention sometimes on the breath, sometimes on a sound without strictly sticking to a single meditation object. My understanding of Ajahn Brahm's description of the first stage was to bring the mind to the present and then make it quiet.

Now I am kind of there, I am trying to figure out how to proceed. Meditation books recommend keeping your attention at the tip of the nose, but my mind is naturally drawn towards knowing the breathing as a whole (through most parts of the body, chest area, belly and sometimes the face also). I tried to go back to paying attention to the nose, but it made the meditation really hard. When I came back to the whole body experience, it was easier. Just wondering whether I am doing this wrong. If so, how should I proceed?

I am particularly interested in knowing whether this way of meditation is what Buddha mentioned in the Satipatthana Sutta when he says:

"'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself.

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My understanding of Ajahn Brahm's description of the first stage was to bring the mind to the present and then make it quiet.

Correct.

Now I am kind of there, I am trying to figure out how to proceed. Meditation books recommend keeping your attention at the tip of the nose...

You seem to be abandoning the instructions of Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm does not teach to deliberately watch breathing at the nose.

my mind is naturally drawn towards knowing the breathing as a whole (through most parts of the body, chest area, belly and sometimes the face also). I tried to go back to paying attention to the nose, but it made the meditation really hard. When I came back to the whole body experience

The practise is to make the mind quiet; to abandon craving & abandon ambition. When the mind is quiet, the mind will feel the breathing where ever the mind naturally feels the breathing.

'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself.

While the translation above is not accurate, it is good enough. It says to experience the "whole body" therefore there is no need to watch only at the nose-tip. When the breathing & body are eventually calmed, the mind will naturally converge towards the nose-tip.

The purpose of Buddhist meditation is not to manipulate phenomena. The purpose of Buddhist meditation is to practise letting go of craving & attachment. Ajahn Brahm has said "jhanas are states of letting go" (as Buddha taught in SN 48.9 and SN 48.10).

You should stick to the instructions of Ajahn Brahm and ignore other teachers (except me!).

  • Thank you very much for the clarification. In fact, I re-listened and re-read Ajahn Braham's method and realized what you mentioned. Letting the breath come to the awareness when the mind is quiet and in the present and be there with it. Also, thanks for the advice on ignoring others. Trying to follow many usually complicate things. – picmate 涅 Nov 21 '18 at 14:15
  • If you decide to follow a certain teacher's advice then stick to it faithfully. If after giving it a thorough trial, it doesn't bring progress, then look elsewhere. But we should take care to avoid listening to different teachers. Regards – Dhammadhatu Nov 21 '18 at 20:25
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The way I understand the object of Anapanasati is the breath. So, Keep your attention on the breath whichever form is presented.

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    Although I scored your answer up, in reality, keep your attention on the quiet silent craving-free mind. – Dhammadhatu Nov 21 '18 at 6:17
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Of course it's hard! ;-) But for now, if it's helpful, you can keep focusing on the whole breath as it moves through your body. Just remember that this is training wheel meditation. Eventually, they need to come off. Even focusing on the breath as it moves through the body - a consistent entity - isn't a stable focal point. As your focus moves along with the breath, suffice it to say your mind is also moving. For proper, stable meditation, the point of focus has to remain stable. Your mind has to stay put. And that's only going to happen if you pick a single point of meditation and stick to it.

  • Thank you. Just wondering, in the Sathipattana sutta, Buddha mentions (updated the answer) the meditator meditates focusing on the whole body after focusing on the in and out breaths, I was wondering whether my experience of breath was something similar. – picmate 涅 Oct 26 '18 at 19:17
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    LMAO! You do NOT want to bring up that particular passage on here. E.g. buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/2521/… . Honestly, though, for now just work on developing your concentration. Maybe in a couple of months consider whether you want to take up a vipassana or samatha practice. – user14100 Oct 26 '18 at 19:34
  • I marked this answer down because of its conclusion. In reality, if the mind is to develop VIPASSANA (insight) of how the mind-body-&-breath are interrelated in relation to the arising & ceasing of stress and also insight of the impermanence & not-self of the breath, the mind must naturally follow & track the movement & sensations of the breath throughout the body. – Dhammadhatu Nov 21 '18 at 6:11

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