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I have been going through this dilemma for almost a year now in choosing a meditation object..

I only wish to take one meditation object.The reason being i maintain this object through out the day and i gather momentum with it.I noticed if i practice two meditations even if it's very short i lose momentum with my previous one.I think because i've inclined the mind towards one object so when it switches i am not developing much concentration.

The main problem i have is i really love and enjoy anapanasati.Piti and sukha are quite developed so i enjoy it very much and can sit longer. I can gather momentum,its relatively easy to turn my attention to the breath through out the day..now here's the bad part... MY EXTERNAL situations in life just seem bleak,unfriendly,uninspiring,lonely,dull i start getting emptier and emptier like less socialising less entertainments moving towards like a letting go type of life it's freeing and a relief except nobody is friendly around me.Like things are just DRY and uninspiring around me.

On the other hand when i practice Brahmaviharas,the result are immediate and everything around me is great,people are friendly,i feel protected from harm,pleasant situations.HOWEVER,i don't really prefer this meditation object because it's tiring and i can't sustain it through out the day repeating phrases.Its tiring basically.Also it's not as still as anapanasati which i prefer but if i don't practice the brahmaviharas life just gets very bleak very fast.When i do practice even for 5 minutes everythings just annoyingly great and sugary sweet.Its really wearing me out trying to choose.

Should i just ignore being afraid of unpleasant situations and emptiness/seclusion and incline the mind towards the breath which i know i can make progress or should i just do brahamaviharas and keep everything around me happy?

Thanks

  • They're both important parts of the whole Dhamma cultivation toolkit. Brahmaviharas, especially Metta, is useful when the mind is dominated with hatred or resentment. Anapanasati is good especially when the mind is dominated by lust. Overall, there're 40 subjects of meditation, each counters some specific defilement. See the Vism. for more details (ref: accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/… ) – santa100 May 23 at 14:54
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Brahmaviharas is a lower type of meditation than Anapanasati. In Brahmaviharas you use your intellect, to make up suggestions or narratives, that condition your point of view a certain way. In Anapanasati you don't use your intellect to generate anything, you just let go of hangups and let them dissolve. Anapanasati is more direct.

The Buddha said, we don't have to rush to finish the with-intellect meditation and jump to the direct. In fact, he said we should max out the first type until we had enough of it at which point it would seem too artificial. I think that's exactly where you are at.

So at this point it makes sense for you to do Anapanasati. However, it sounds like you misunderstand what that means. Anapanasati is not just watching your breath and disconnecting from the world. It is using the breath as a focal point for directly seeing your mind, and cutting through any negative thoughts that assault you.

The end result is that you come back to a fresh open mind, as if you have just awoke.

  • I wonder something from your answer: you mention compassion meditation as an addition, and breath meditation as letting go. Would you say that compassion is kinda like a temporary remedy, whereas breathing is more foundational and restructures the mind? I remember reading this somewhere, but the 'ultimate' (I think) way of generating compassion was linked to vipassana rather than anapanasati. – Eggman Aug 3 at 11:59
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"Jhana" itself is a "Brahma realm" therefore the mind should have buoyancy & metta if it has developed genuine "piti & sukha". This "metta" is from & the same as the natural development of love & non-judging required for self-development of Anapanasati. In other words, there is no need to give up Anapanasati to develop metta. The self-directed love towards oneself required for developing Anapanasati should also naturally manifest outwardly externally. This said, viewing the world with brightness & buoyancy will not change the general stupidity & bleakness of the world. If the mind has metta plus wisdom, it views the external world like a comedy movie - 'A Ship Of Fools'. Since a mind of wisdom has no unrealistic expectations towards the world, it has no reason to have hatred. Non-hatred is metta.

  • Your right about how not having enough metta hinders anapanasati as i feel like i can't progress past a certain stage because i lack metta but if i split my attention its going to not produce solid concentration.I think i will practice intensive brahamviharas for a few years until i'm certain there's significant ill-will,hatred,envy removed from the mindstream then practice anapanasati.I think once i reach upekkha it will be conducive towards anapanasati. just can't do two meditations it's truly something i can't do. – Akashad May 22 at 9:52
  • Also you mentioned something about the Brahma Realms and i can't remember where i read it and i may be wrong but i think the Brahmaviharas lead to the deva realms which is a sensual realm not a fine material realm like the Brahma realms.I can see it in my own life when i practice brahmaviharas a lot of good food,pleasant experiences,highs,ups,good days..but when i practice anapansati lots off seclusion,letting go,nekhhamma..i may be wrong..just observing patterns in my life. – Akashad May 22 at 9:56
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By all means remain with Anapannasati. First of all, it is foundational. Listening to your story, it sounds as though your practice is trying to correct itself. The Anapannasati will make you more sociable as an end result, but at your current practice you are still retreating into yourself. It's the cultivation of equanimity that will be crucial, as always. Hang in there. Been there, done that.

"And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture, so that there is nothing of his entire body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture." — AN 5.28

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I don't recall anywhere in the EBT (early buddhist texts) where the Buddha encouraged people to only do one type of meditation, to the exclusion of all others.

Check out the sutta excerpt AN 9.1 for example, where 4 of the most common meditations are mentioned (near bottom of article) https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-four-guardian-meditations-where-from.html

The 4bv (brahmaviharas) and metta, can be done in a way where its not tiring at all. If you can do 16 APS (anapana) in a way that produces bliss, piti, sukha, etc, then you should be able to adjust your metta practice to be just as comfortable.

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Householder Akashad, interested,

to gain path it is required to develop fist a situation/conncentration of access-possibility and therefore one of the ten Recollections are recommended whereas the first six, listed there, are best used by those who have not left home yet, not really living a Yogies life. They also provide with the training to be devoted toward the very basics.

The Brahmaviharas, althought beloved, actually require to have gained integrity since if not, if not having reached the path, they might work fine for very hypocratical development. Remember that the realm of the Brahmas is also the host of very confused mighty beings and all here know in which bad manner the Sublime attitudes can be use even very destructive, deluded "creater" dwell there.

Contemplating, meditating, in extensive manners, on death, the ugly of the body, anapana, are already very advanced and would not fit well into normal aspirations of householder, althought very effective, get soon in conflict with gains in the world.

The last, Recollection of peace, is then really only recommended for those who had already gained a view on Nibbana because otherwise they would develop wrong liberation even further.

So again, the usual meditations, which also secure right basic approach for those living in and outwardly as householder are the first six, the seek after borderlands and visit them much, inwardly but good if also outwardly, to gain a base for ones recollection and maintain it. When time is right, then things get broadened by there previous cases.

General worthy to note is that a Yogi or one desire for such, would devoted approach a skilled monk, an meditation teacher, having payed respect, made offerings, one would ask for ones kammatthana (working place, object) and then, individual adviced, follow it. So the answer, as a whole, should be seen as an approach to consider good, better and proper ways to be given a blessed path. At least it's a matter of responsibility to look out whether on has basic right view, since with wrong view, what ever effort, leads to wrong release and meditation on improper base can be all then harmfull, even to ever gain right view which is not gained by meditation, but by hearing the Dhamma while dvelling in borderlands, proper attention.

A possible extended answer as well as given space for further questions and discussion can be given found here: [Q&A] Help Me Choose which meditation i Should do Anapanasati or Brahmaviharas?

May you and others always make proper choices to find the way to real happiness for themselves with ease.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks or entertaining binding to world, but as exit for higher and beyond)

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well your claims do not make sense when you want to reach nibanna, since cultivating dispassion and disgust for rupa is a big part of the goal of the dhamma....in fact, it begins right at minduflness...

Since you cling to rupa like any puthujjana addicted to rupa, it is normal to hate to see rupa as unworthy of your energy, and the best you can do is the jhanas as the abiding in the present life, meaning lots of sukha like you claim you already have.

The next step is precisely to combine jhanas with sati, right intention, right view, right understanding, wisdom, call it whatever you want... you have to choose: either continue to do the samadhi for sukha, or you start cultivating the dispassion for vedana, rupa, vinnana, whatever is conditioned by seeing them as anatta, anicca, dukkha and all that...

If you hate sati, panna, and son on, well then you can cultivate samadhi irrespective of any doctrine, or you can even become a hindu claiming that nibanna is some level of samadhi and that you are a good guy for being skilled at samadhi, but ofc you will be wrong....

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Practising breath meditation one develops the 4 focuses of mindfulness ultimately leading to true knowledge

When the mindfulness of the in-and-out-breathing is cultivated and often developed, it brings the 4 focuses of mindfulness to perfection

When the 4 focuses of mindfulness are cultivated and often developed, they bring the 7 awakening-factors to perfection.

When the 7 awakening-factors are cultivated and often developed, they bring true knowledge and liberation to perfection.

Ānâpāna,sati Sutta

Brahmaviharas help develop concentration.

Also until one gets liberation it helps make the path easier.

So it is best to practice both. In Mahā Rāhulovāda Sutta Ven. Rahula receives the instruction for both Brahmaviharas and breath meditation.

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