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I plan on calling the Metta forest monastery with this question shortly but have not had the opportunity yet to do so.

In “With Each and every breath” and in many of Thanissaro’s guided meditations he talks about playing with the “breath energies” of the body in meditation. While I believe I have on occasion felt these sensations in my hands, I have struggled to feel them elsewhere in the body, particularly their movement from the base of the skull down the spine as he often stresses is the most important place to feel these energies.

If anybody as any experience with this particular form of meditation and tips on sensitizing myself to the breath energy of the body I would be keen to hear. Thank you!

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Be patient with yourself, the energy is essentially how you feel the body from within. Initially when your body feels stiff, i.e also energy but blocked. Slowly, the energies you feel would be subtle. Try listening to the talks titled Breath, on dhammatalks.org, he explains it quite deeply there.

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I've practiced breath meditation in a way similar to how Ven. Thanissaro teaches for decades.

What he and his teacher Ajahn Lee call breath energy, in the Buddha's sutta terminology, corresponds mostly with wind property (see MN 62 for breath meditation and 4 elements) https://lucid24.org/mn/mn062/index.html but also breath energy would overlap with the other elemental properties (fire, water, earth), just that it's the physical tactile sensations of the breath that you filter your experience through.

For example, in the beginning breath tactile sensations may feel most prominent as wind element in nostril area, force of chest and belly expanding.

The more you meditate, the more sensitive you become, and the more that your internal energies of your jhana battery are charged up and the forces become stronger, then you'll feel portions of currents and loops of energy running all over the entire body, felt as watery hydraulic movement, or heat, or electricity. At different stages, parts of your body may feel light (weight) or heavy, maybe like a buzzing beehive, or soft gooey magnetic force everywhere for example.

The sensations of your fingers for example may be felt as tingly electrical sensations. It may not feel like "breath" at first, but the more your jhana battery gets charged up, the more all of these elemental tactile sensations pervade everywhere in the body and connect together.

The important point is not that all of these kinds of tactile sensations have to feel like a gross (airy) breath, but that you simply use the "breath energy" as a way to anchor your perceptions, gross to subtle of how each cell of the body is perceived.

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  • What does the term jhana battery refer to precisely? Do you mean the prelude to jhana, where certain qualities subside and certain qualities arise for the subsequent entrance into to jhana? Is that what you mean?
    – Max
    Jul 13 at 15:09
  • what i mean by jhana battery, is analogous to if you don't sleep enough, your mind will be forgetful and dull. If you don't eat enough, your body will be tired, mind will be tired. Most people have a depleted jhana battery, (they would need to spend weeks, months charging it up for the forces to get strong enough for interesting sensations to be felt in the body.
    – frankk
    Jul 14 at 10:27
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first u use for example the tactile sensation of the breath passing on the upper lip as the object of single-pointed fixation. with good instructions and surrounding circumstances it will take about 6months to reach perfect concentration. based on this all sensory appearances collapse and u remain in perfect single-pointed concentration on just the mind ie. spacious nonconceptual luminosity. ur sense organs only completely shutdown in 2nd jhana until then they are just dormant or suppressed in the sense of contributing nothing to impinge on ur perfect attention and one can remain without moving off ur object for two hours at a time easily. then the question comes, so can i return to my previous familiar breath meditation object or no or what. yes and no. no that coarse appearance conditioned by the sense organ and called the breath no longer is used, and yet yes a much subtler version of the movement of the breath is ascertained by the mental consciousness and used instead. this is the breath energy of the body closely associated with the mind called prana in vajrayana. this is the coarsest and most obvious ascertainment of it all thats required is perfect concentration beyond the desire realm the first instance of this being access concentration/shamata which is where the journey to 1st dhyana begins

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  • That is not what Thanissaro teaches at all. You're describing a breath meditation and jhana that does not match a straightforward reading of what the pali suttas teach.
    – frankk
    Jul 13 at 10:16
  • you'd have to clarify what you mean by "body shutdown", but the suttas and. Ven. T. teach four jhanas that are sensitive to the entire physical body. If you're in a samadhi where the body is not perceivable, you're not in the four jhanas anymore.
    – frankk
    Jul 13 at 10:38
  • If the sense organs shut down in second jhana, one would be absent of perception and feeling. This would give rise to the third noble truth, and a rather interesting spectacle would follow. How does this fare with you?
    – Max
    Jul 13 at 15:15
  • @NeuroMax nope, the mental sense power is still perfectly functioning so ur samsara is not even slightly interrupted. are u assuming the 6th sense power resides in sense organs?
    – bw tho
    Jul 13 at 23:02
  • @frankk oh i see thanissaro is one of these ppl who thinks objects can still impinge on perfect concentration. hopefully he is excising a type of skilful means cos as i said although raw physical sensation is easily overcome a subtle variant is known by the perfectly concentrated mind. that the physical senses no longer appear to perfect concentration is non debatable. that the sense organ shut down in full is a technical thing relevant to ppl who can sit without moving off their object for consecutive days at a time, outshining 1st jhana where 12h is effortless
    – bw tho
    Jul 13 at 23:17

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