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I returned from Goenka's Vipassana retreat. The technique of being aware of sensations with equanimity was very helpful and led me into deeper states of meditation.

But his technique includes scanning the body as you move deeper. What I found was if I am focused on sensations on my face then willfully changing the focus to shoulder disturbs meditation.

Also, I have to keep my mind active to control and move my focus with will, from say face to shoulder etc.

Else where as I read Ajahn Brahm, his whole technique comprise of 'letting-go' of 'doer' or 'will'. Main emphasis is about the attitude of not getting the 'doer' or 'craving' or 'will' involved.

Further to the answers to my last question as I now understand we reach to Vipassana i.e. insight. So my question is can I skip the body scan part. Can I attain Vipassana and Jnana without involving the body scan. Just being aware of sensations on face bring a great deal of Samatha. Keep the doer, controlling mind aside.

I am sorry I am mixing Ajahn Brahm and Goenka. What is happening is I am finding it difficult to attain ggod meditative mind through AB's method of focusing on breath but I am doing good progress in sense of calming my mind and reducing the thoughts by Goenkas method to watch sensations through equanimity.

So my plan is attain Samatha through Goenka's method of watching sensations and then as I attain meditative mind with no thoughts switch to AB's method to attain Jnana.

I checked other question-answers regarding body scan but they do not answer my question as their problem is not 'bringing in the doer' or 'will' their problems are different.

So my question is can I skip the body scan?

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can I skip the body scan part. Can I attain Vipassana and Jnana without involving the body scan.

Yes.

Just being aware of sensations on face bring a great deal of Samatha. Keep the doer, controlling mind aside.

Yes. If it feels comfortable just being aware of sensations on face then do it. In his instructions, the Buddha literally said: "Bring mindfulness in front of the face (parimukhaṃ)".

I am finding it difficult to attain ggod meditative mind through AB's method of focusing on breath but I am doing good progress in sense of calming my mind and reducing the thoughts by Goenkas method to watch sensations through equanimity.

What is important is equanimity and a sense of calming. If the body-scan is too busy & disturbing, skip it. If the breathing is too narrow & restrictive, also drop it. Try to be as natural as possible, with equanimity. If sensations around the face helps the mind stay grounded, then maintain it.

So my plan is attain Samatha through Goenka's method of watching sensations and then as I attain meditative mind with no thoughts switch to AB's method to attain Jnana.

Sounds complementary and OK.

So my question is can I skip the body scan?

Yes. If the deliberate body-scan is too busy & disturbing, skip it. It is important awareness remains fluid, flexible or "malleable" (mudubhūta); a quality of concentration the Buddha emphasized.

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This is an old post, and I don’t even have an account here but I found this by googling to try to find out if there are other Vipassana centers or teachers practicing Vipassana the same way as the teacher in my town! (Jefferson City, MO, US, Vipassana Buddhist Church, Rev. Montee Dhammaruchi). I’ll talk about that a little and hopefully the info is helpful to someone!

It’s been years since I attended there, I traveled away for a long time and found other Buddhists doing different things in Portland Oregon. I practice shikantaza now, as a beginner, after finding that Dogen’s framework seems to click with my logic and also challenge me in a way that feels growthful.

But anyway, years ago, I practiced this form of Vipassana for about 3 years with Rev. Montee, and then continued in it independently until I switched to Zen. The instructions are to sit in a way that isn’t too straining. He encourages full lotus if possible, half lotus if you can’t do full, Burmese posture if you can’t do either. The point is ideally you are splitting your weight between two knees and your butt. Some people sat in chairs though, and he didn’t mind making those available. And then you try to isolate awareness in your breath, with all senses, focusing on your nostrils if possible. And then when sounds or sensations or thoughts happen, try not to be disturbed by them but be aware of their impermanence. That was basically my experience and understanding of it, and I haven’t learned or practiced any other form of Vipassana than what he instructed. Other Vipassana techniques sound pretty different when I read about them. The way Montee taught it, it never involved a body scan. Mindfulness of the whole body was encouraged but there wasn’t a systematic method like that. It may be that he was trying to streamline the essence of Vipassana. When I first began practicing Zazen I had a hard time differentiating between it and Montee’s Vipassana. I know that he had trained in Zen originally so maybe that’s why he taught this way.

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Meditation is defined in Buddhism as "beneficial concentration", where "concentration" is synonymous to "relaxation".

Meditation is a way to let go of forceful, constraining habits.

So doing anything in meditation forcefully might be likely counter-productive. Unless, of course, that forceful action would help you to let something go, and after that you would meditate naturally, in unconstrained way.

So if going through some steps, like body scan, seems too forced, then don't force it.

I like to follow body sensations: if they attract attention to the face, then go there. But usually after following sensations to some body part they gradually fade or start to move to another part.

If you are attached to focusing on the face, it can mean attachment.

Why would moving to other parts — doing body scan — be a problem?

It shouldn't be a problem if you are truly relaxed and letting go.

Attachment to the sensations in the head is known as a symptom of "Zen sickness", which means meditating incorrectly. They say that the energy goes to the head, instead of being distributed through the body more evenly and naturally.

To counter that tendency, try methods like "microcosmic orbit". Hakuins' butter egg might be helpful too, as well as qigong and other ways to make the body more conscious and holistic.

The accumulation of energy in the head (or any other body part) can be accompanied with pleasant sensations, but in some other parts of the body which you leave outside of your focus the situation can be disharmonious. Also, consumed with pleasant sensations, you might not notice tensions in the head, leading to all kinds of health problems (poor sight, crumbling teeth, bad breath, hypertension etc).

More properly would be, at first, focusing at the place that attracts your attention, but then trying to spread the energy that you feel. As if that place gets relaxed, warmth is dispersing around, and then your attention gets liberated to move anywhere else.

Ultimately, it's advisable to widen the perception to all the body, as relaxed (that's what the body scan is for), and further to expand the perception to all the world, inside and outside, as relaxed, with no oppositions. With no place preferred or held to.

Otherwise it's probably moving in a wrong direction.

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