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I have done several Vipassana retreats in the past. Some questions came up to me several times without being able to answer them.

  • What are the major differences between mindfulness of the body (e.g. Body scan/Vipassana meditation) and focusing on the breath (i.e Anapana Sati meditation)?

  • How can I focus my attention as it arises across my body? I am able to focus on my breath between my nose and my mouth, but when I am aware of my sensation on my legs for instance, should I stay aware of my breathing simultaneously?

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For starters i am not sure how you differentiate between the two. The literal content of anapanasati sutta teaches us to examine several different aspects including but not limited to bodily sensations or breathing.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

What are the major differences between mindfulness of the body (e.g. Body scan/Vipassana meditation) and focusing on the breath (i.e Anapana Sati meditation)?

Besides the obvious difference in meditation objects, there will likely be a wider range of experiences perceived during a body scan, as you become more receptive to any/all body functions, aches, hunger, et c, compared to focusing solely on the breath.

Also, scanning the body systematically too quickly can make you less perceptive to anicca - i.e. the non-permanence of a singular sensation - compared to being attentive to your breath only where you'll be gradually more attentive to subtle changes. On the other hand, shifting your attention as taught in anapanasati can aid you in practicing the discernment of mental factors.

How can I focus my attention as it arises across my body? I am able to focus on my breath between my nose and my mouth, but when I am aware of my sensation on my legs for instance, should I stay aware of my breathing simultaneously?

Choose one object at a time. It will train you in maintaining singular focus (ekagatta), and will also enable you to examine how bodily phenomena transforms, or whether they are successively stilled (or not), for instance. If other sensations arises you will likely shift your attention regardless of whether you intend to or not, so focus on practicing returning your attention to your initial meditation object.

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In Satipathana there are four frames of references. The fist is the contemplation of the body. (Kayanupassana) Awareness of the breath is considered body contemplation. This includes any bodily actions such as walking, sitting, and sleeping as well. The second limb is the contemplation of feeling. (Vedanaupassana) Here your contemplation on the body such as the pleasant, painful, and neutral feeling of the body. It appears to be the breath meditation is the first limb and the body scanning is the second limb.

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I have done several Vipassana retreats in the past.

The retreats you have done are "Goenka" retreats and what was taught there is not the same as the "vipassana" & "anapanasati" taught by the Buddha.

What are the major differences between mindfulness of the body (e.g. Body scan/Vipassana meditation) and focusing on the breath (i.e Anapana Sati meditation)?

Both of the above contrived techniques taught by Goenka are not what the Buddha taught.

How can I focus my attention as it arises across my body?

Why would you want to focus attention across the body?

I am able to focus on my breath between my nose and my mouth, but when I am aware of my sensation on my legs for instance, should I stay aware of my breathing simultaneously?

Buddhist meditation is about keeping the mind free from greed, hatred, delusion & craving. Therefore, whatever sense experience comes into the mind, such as experiencing the breathing at the nose, in the throat, in the chest, in the abdomen, etc, the mind simply experiences it without having greed, aversion or cravings towards it.

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Why is good householder doing such retreats and what should be their purpose? Asked back, since it matters in regard of a releaseful answer.

Could he here and now investigate that matter and gives an account, a truthfully here if still necessary?

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