Meditation and cultivating awareness is the heart of Buddhism. You need meditation for attaining jhanas and also for doing Vipassana, metta bhavana...

So as far as I've discovered, the only meditation that Lord Buddha taught was sitting and watching the breath. But nowadays many masters and mystic have very different techniques for different kind of people. Because not all people has the same temperament and cannot go into trance by just one single method. And as tathagata also had so many different disciples, did anapana worked for all of them and all of them attained jhanas, stillness of mind, etc. by practicing anapana alone or there was other meditation techniques, if so what are these techniques?

P.s. I know about walking meditation, loving-kindness and other awareness meditations explained in satipatthana but they are not specifically techniques. What I'm looking for is the sitting meditation techniques when anapana does not work.

  • This is most surprising that anapana is not working for you. Without breath we die. Observing the breath is simply observing life. Please explain how anapana is not working for you. – OyaMist Nov 6 at 14:31
  • it doesn't. even after a 2 hour sitting my mind does not calm done and I don't anything even near a jhana or even a concentrated mind and I'm not new to this. – Behnam K. Nov 6 at 18:23
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    Do you observe the five precepts? – SarathW Nov 6 at 20:52
  • yes, I kept my sila for a long time – Behnam K. Nov 7 at 7:29
  • Maybe these sources are useful for you: hillsidehermitage.org/notes-on-meditation and youtube.com/… – Medhiṇī Nov 7 at 18:27

You sit for two hours like a log and expect to reach samadhi? Well, I'm sorry to disappoint, but your expectation of meditation as "technique" is completely, utterly wrong. You can't achieve Nibbana, Enlightenment, Liberation, or however you call it, by sitting and mechanically doing something pointless - this is not how it works.

Meditation is cultivation. Buddhist meditation is cultivation of cessation of dukkha. This cultivation is gradual, step by step - from coarse to fine.

In your meditation you should cultivate cessation of dukkha by cultivating:

  • non-arising [anuppādāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
  • abandonment [pahānāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
  • arising [uppādāya] of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
  • maintenance [ṭhitiyā], non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen.

How exactly you do this? By following anapanasati sutta:

Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.
Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.
Breathing in, I make it joyful. Breathing out, I make it joyful.
Breathing in, I make it happy. Breathing out, I make it happy.
Breathing in, I make my mind happy. Breathing out, I make my mind happy.
Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.
Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind.

In other words, as you sit there and breath, you should deliberately focus and apply effort to step by step abandon the evil unskilful qualities:

  • Craving for physical pleasures
  • Craving for emotional pleasures
  • Craving for mental pleasures
  • Craving for praise and approval
  • Craving for your body to be different
  • Craving for your mind to be different
  • Craving for your life situation to be different
  • Craving for the world to be different
  • Negativity
  • Self-beating
  • Worry that what you are doing is not perfect enough.

and you should specifically focus and deliberately apply effort to generate skillful qualities:

  • Faith or Motivation to continue this practice
  • Energy or Good Mood
  • Mindfulness or Remembering these instructions
  • Concentration or Stable Mind
  • Wisdom or Understanding How Mind Works
  • Confidence
  • Tranquility

You can do all this through:

  • Talking to yourself
  • Thinking about certain things
  • Remembering certain things
  • Imagination and visualization
  • Reviewing and re-evaluating your past experience
  • Reviewing your attachments and letting go
  • Reviewing your preconceptions and letting go
  • Looking at your breathing and letting go
  • Looking at your psychosomatic feelings in the body and working directly with them
  • Looking at your mind and working directly with it.

You do it starting with coarse, big, most obvious issues. Then you do smaller and smaller stuff. Then at the end, you look at your "mind of practice" itself - how and why you are doing it, and apply the same exact process to that.

That's it.

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    Comparing this to the suttas, the five "skilful qualities" which you listed initially were a canonical list, i.e. five "strengths" or "spiritual faculties". Then you added 2 -- of which "tranquility" is from a different (possibly even more relevant) list, i.e. of the 7 "factors of enlightenment" (but from that list of factors you don't mention "joy" or "investigation", though you certainly imply investigation in your next list). – ChrisW Nov 7 at 0:47
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    Yes, I wrote this from memory and "common sense" for the most part, so it may not match the traditional lists exactly. In my mind, joy is included in energy and good mood, while investigation is included in wisdom. – Andrei Volkov Nov 7 at 0:59
  • @AndreiVolkov would it be better to ask this by contacting you personally? – avatar Korra Nov 8 at 3:33
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    @avatarKorra you can ask me offline, but I think historically I'm more responsive here than on email, for whatever reason :) Although it really depends on whether it's personal or not. For common questions, it may be better to share with others, for personal not. – Andrei Volkov Nov 9 at 19:35
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    @avatarKorra - yes I can, but my interpretation of jhanas and the practice leading to each is very different from simply sitting, watching the breath and suddenly getting happy. I use applied thinking, letting go, immediacy, and suchness quite extensively. – Andrei Volkov Nov 11 at 20:51

Well yes you have 4 main methods to get the citta into samadhi [the normal question is : 4 methods give 4 different samadhi or is it the same samadhi?]

THe most famous is the jhana which is ''abiding in the here and now'' or ''in this very life'' http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/anguttara/04/an04-041.html (puthujjanas today love to slap ''present moment'' on any pleasing attempt at their mediation, but for the buddha ''present moment'' means the jhanas. It turns out that the ''pleasant abiding here and now'' for the buddha means being secluded from the senses, so tracking the objects of the senses like puhtujjana claim is the opposite of ''enjoying the present moment''.)

Anapanasati is the typical way to go form puhtujjana to non-puthujjana, first you get to know something, like the body, piti, then get to be sensitive to various sankharas, then as usual you calm all the sankharas that you find, once they are calmed, you try to find out the condition of the pile of garbage that is each aggregate, this quest is what the buddha called yonisomanasikara. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn54/sn54.006.than.html

In the night of his awakening, the buddha got 3 vijjās, last one after he directed his citta in samadhi to '' the ending of the mental fermentations'' which means the sankharas. and the citta in samadhi directed to this is the yonisomanikara or ''the destruction of the āsavas'' http://www.buddha-vacana.org/formulae/asavak.html#color

but before that he directed his citta into samadhi towards how karma, shankaras and jati are linked, and he says that this is the result of doing the āloka·saññaṃ manasi karoti, so perhaps he did that. [the normal question is whether the perception of light is the natural light or the light he mentions as in

"This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. ]

Before that, the citta in samadhi from the jhanas was directed towards the countless rebirths.

Before that he get the citta into samadhi with the jhanas.

before that he said he discriminated between sensual thoughts and renunciation thoughts

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html

before that, he did the wrong samadhi that all puthujjanas do: striving to grasp at some objects, not '' imbued with renunciation, abandoning thinking imbued with sensuality'' like he phrases it, which springs various aches... https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html

it doesn't. even after a 2 hour sitting my mind does not calm done and I don't anything even near a jhana or even a concentrated mind and I'm not new to this...

Thank you for clarifying.

From AN4.41 Ways of Developing Immersion Further (Sujato), we have:

Four ways of developing immersion further. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to blissful meditation in the present life. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to gaining knowledge and vision. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to mindfulness and awareness. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to the ending of defilements.

If you are besieged by thoughts, develop your immersion further by simple observation:

A mendicant knows feelings as they arise, as they remain, and as they go away. They know perceptions as they arise, as they remain, and as they go away. They know thoughts as they arise, as they remain, and as they go away. This is the way of developing immersion further that leads to mindfulness and awareness.

By simply observing rise and fall, you become disentangled. Once disentangled, simply observe whether the breath is coming in or out. Hopefully this may be of some help.

If AN4.41 does not suffice, please consult DN33, which is a massive summary of the teachings, but a bit difficult to wade through.


On a side note, chanting is itself a wonderful way to marshal your thoughts and "herd the stray cats in your head." Without access to a monastery or such, you can also simply listen to a sutta. Click the Play button for AN41 or if you prefer, click on the links to a human recording of a relevant sutta. Listening to and memorizing suttas will at least make sure that your stray thoughts are about the Dhamma.

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