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I have chosen to practice meditation on and mindfulness of the breath, at the tip of the nose, as prescribed by the Buddha. My difficulty, simply put, is that I am able to sense and focus on the breath everywhere BUT the tip of my nose! I suspect that focusing on where I do perceive it (in the nostrils) might be sufficient, but I want to precisely follow the instructions given by the Buddha.

I came to notice on my own one day that projecting my attention onto a fixed location in the space in front of my head (with eyes closed) seemed to facilitate absorption in single-minded awareness. I had hoped that directing my awareness to the tip of my nose would produce similar results. Imagine my disappointment upon finding that I was unable to fixate my focus as the Buddha recommended! I will be very grateful for any guidance... May all beings find perfect freedom from dukkha and samsara!

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  • at the tip of the nose was not prescribed by the Buddha.... at the tip of the nose is not precisely follow the instructions given by the Buddha... fixate focus at the tip of the nose is not as the Buddha recommended! – Dhammadhatu Dec 15 '19 at 9:38
  • Thank you for your answer. Will you please share how I have misunderstood? I wish only to understand the proper method. Thank you. – TSC Dec 15 '19 at 9:43
  • This is what I am referring to: the basic text on breath meditation is the Anapanasati Sutra. In that Sutra please find the following... "“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him [parimukha: “in front of the face”–at the tip of the nose], ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out." (from breathmeditation.org/…) – TSC Dec 15 '19 at 9:53
  • parimukha is unrelated to the nose tip. Also, mindfulness does not mean consciousness awareness. – Dhammadhatu Dec 15 '19 at 10:08
  • I suppose the translation is at fault, then? After all, the sutra does say (in this translation) to establish MINDFULNESS on THE TIP OF THE NOSE, does it not? Perhaps you could illuminate the subject for me instead of simply shooting down all of my questions? – TSC Dec 15 '19 at 10:10
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"Mukha" can merely mean "to the front" or "to the fore".

"Pari" means "all round".

"Pari mukha" means to make mindfulness the foremost of the mind's activity in an all pervasive way.

"Mindfulness" means "to remember" or "keep in mind" the teachings. The teachings are about abiding without unwholesome states & craving.

Mindfulness establishes the mind all round to be without unwholesome states & craving.

The Buddha taught to keep the mind as pure as possible and, when this is done, the mind will naturally know the breathing in whatever place the breath is felt.

The Buddha did not teach about the nose-tip. Pari mukha does not mean tip of the nose or nose-tip.

If we attempt to only watch breathing at the nose-tip; this will be unnatural for the mind; cause frustration; and have adverse affects (such as sleepiness or "sinking mind").

After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore (parimukhaṃ).

Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will & anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will & anger. Abandoning sloth & drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth & drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth & drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness & anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness & anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.

MN 38

  • This is a wonderful answer; thank you very much for taking the time to elucidate the subject of breath meditation for me, and for those who read will read your answer in the future! I wish you peace and happiness. – TSC Dec 15 '19 at 22:02
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PariMukkhaṃ Satiṃ upaṭṭhapetvā = the practitioner focuses the mindfulness on only Breaths.

So satova assasati satova passasati = he is focusing the mindfulness like that and breathing out/in.

Breaths are not nose tip, touching, or feeling. Breaths are long or short wind flowing at nose tip.

Sometime breaths appear at right nostril tip, sometime left, sometime middle, some time top lip.

But you are focus on clearing appearing breaths at somewhere of those, so wherever of them is OK.

The other touching points such as in side the nose or lung is over width for clear focusing on breath and easily to get Restlessness (uddhacca), so appearing breaths on somewhere at the nose tip is the best choice for the meditation.

  • This is a great answer as well. I appreciate your effort here and find that my understanding of the issue has deepened as a result of your answer. Peace and happiness to you! – TSC Dec 15 '19 at 22:05
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“Ānanda, there is that concentration to the bhikkhu, in which, the eye and forms do not attend reciprocally, the ear and sounds do not attend reciprocally, the nose and smells do not attend reciprocally, the tongue and tastes do not attend reciprocally, the body and touches do not attend reciprocally. The mind does not attend to earth, water, fire or air, as earth, water, fire and air. The mind does not attend to the sphere of space as the sphere of space, the sphere of consciousness, as the sphere of consciousness The sphere of nothingness as the sphere of nothingness and the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, as the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception. The mind does not attend to this world as this world or attend to the other world, as the other world. The mind does not attend to whatever seen, heard, experienced, cognized and searched by the mind, as the seen, heard, experienced, cognized and searched by the mind. Yet the mind is attentive.

Above is from Anguttara Nikaya -> Ekadasakanipatha -> Nissayavagga -> Manasikara sutta where it clearly describe that concentration on air, or senses (nose, skin etc) is something not advised to do.

But this collides most of the popular teachings and teachers today. Why is that? I'll explain why with another quote from the cannon.

Samyutta Nikaya -> Nidanawagga -> Nidanasutta -> Mahawagga -> Duthiya Assutava Sutta

  1. I heard thus. At one time the Blessed One was living in the monastery offered by Anāthapiṇḍika in Jeta’s grove in Sāvatthi.

  2. “Monks, it may happen that the not learned ordinary man would turn away, lose interest and be released from this body of the four elements.

  3. “What is the reason? Monks, in this body of four elements, he sees the heaping up and the dwindling, the appropriating and discarding natures. Therefore the ordinary man turns away, loses interest and is released from this body of the four elements.

  4. “Monks, there is no cause for the ordinary man to turn away, to lose interest and to be release from the mind, or the mentality or consciousness

  5. “What is the reason? Monks, for a long time the ordinary man had clung to it, made it his own and touched it as ‘this is me, I am this and this is my self.’

“Therefore, for the ordinary man it is not sufficient to turn away, lose interest and be released from the mind, mentality or consciousness.

  1. “It is suitable that the ordinary man should conclude, this body of the four elements is my self rather than the mind.

As you see above most of the popular teachings and teachers are not nobles, they just teach what they understand as the truth, which is 100% align with the latter quote from the cannon. The reason is simple as explained above there are cause. Which means they are not in the right view, or they are not first entrants.

Now you may think your way of meditation works as well, and what's the wrong about it. Yes of course it works, but that's not the noble meditation which Buddha advised (evidences are in the first quote). Those kind of meditations were there from very old days. Even prince Siddharath (buddha's earlier name) were capable of doing that after attending to his first three teachers (Alarakalama, Uddakarama...). But with those prince Siddhartha couldn't find the Nirvana, the ultimate happiness. That's why he left those teachers and find his own way.

So it's natural that why the wrong ways are very popular and known by many people while the real truth is hidden ( in this forum it gets down voted, but I'm doing my duty by sharing what I know and what I've understood)

So to wrap up my answer before someone says this is not an answer but an explanation, The meditation you are doing is not what the Buddha has advised to do, so without directly answering the question, I'm trying to answer with an explanation why the question is wrong.

With Metta..!

  • Thank you for your thorough answer. I will think on these things and attempt to arrive at a better understanding of what is required for true meditation and mindfulness practice. – TSC Dec 18 '19 at 3:18

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