During meditation in past, it was observed that if focus is maintained on nostrils, tip of nose and center of forehead(between eyebrows) then it causes cold and cough within 2-3 days of such practice.

Surprisingly, it was observed whenever it was practised.

Tried the same experiment with other fellows at that time, they also had same symptoms, if not sooner then later.

In tipitaka, anywhere mentioned about ill-effects of such combination of meditation focus points?

Are these ill effects or could be something else, not taken into consideration?

Analysis so far-
Kayanupashyana and vednanupashyana both are all about focus, observe, analyse body parts (though not always at single area but bit by bit within whole body). There might be somewhere mentioned about such ill effects, if not then either those suttas were burned off or this assumption is wrong or assumption is correct & it might be due to wrong concentration & observation, "upward air entering as cold & sensing nose part nearby forehead leading to formation of runny nose, cold, cough"

  • This question is particularly about, "if anywhere mentioned in suttas about various combinations of meditation observable areas that may lead to ill effects, if not done in a particular sequence". Eg. Simultaneously observing or "trying to observe"(focus in short) nose tip, nostrils, forehead center b/w eyebrows while observing breath.
    – Wonderer
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 14:35

2 Answers 2


There isn't a single sutta where the Buddha told people to focus on a specific body part when meditating. Three key meditation suttas are the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (MN 10), Mindfulness of Breathing (MN 118), and Mindfulness of Body (MN 119). There's also MN 52 The Man From the City of Aṭṭhaka that covers 11 different meditations, none of which involve focusing on a body part. Then you have (MN 121) The Shorter Discourse on Emptiness. MN 121 gives directions for the formless attainments. Nothing in it involves focusing on a body part. (MN 111) - One by One goes through the four jhanas and all the formless attainments and also doesn't focus on a body part.

In Mindfulness of Breathing, the Buddha doesn't instruct people to look at the tip of their nose, the center or their belly, or anything else. The same is true for every meditation sutta.

So no, the Tipitaka does not talk about those ill effects, because that is not how the Buddha taught meditation. That said, if you find what you're doing helpful it could fall under the umbrella of Right Effort.

Access to Insight on Right Effort

  • Nice answer, perhaps the confusion has something to do with ekaggata (one-point, unified mind) getting reinterpretation. Does Buddha use term ekaggata?
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 2:41
  • @blue_ego The Buddha used ekaggata. See: find.dhamma.gift/result/ekaggataa_suttanta_pali_7-14.html MN 111 that explains all 4 jhanas and 4 formless attainments is a good one to read. suttacentral.net/mn111/en/… Unification of mind does not mean "focusing on your nose".
    – triplej
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 16:51
  • yes, i found it too, thx...cittekaggatā, used many places
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 18:33
  • i can see why there is confusion though...MN118@suttacentral says: "at that time they’re meditating by observing an aspect of the body". it's translated more clearly at dhammatalk.org...the body is not the physical body, but a subtle body
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 19:26
  • @blue_ego I don't believe the subtle body is mentioned in the nikayas. MN 118 has 3 basic parts. 1) It has the beginning which sets the scene, which is, monks practicing diligently and the Buddha giving compliments. 2) It has the directions. 3) it explains how Mindfulness of Breathing is effective. These directions in (2) fulfill the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which fulfills the Awakening Factors, which fulfills Knowledge and Freedom.
    – triplej
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 18:21

I’ve used the tip of my nose for 16 years. Going on that theory, I’d be single-handedly responsible for Tylenol’s continued existence.

Where you focus your mind is ultimately pretty arbitrary. All you need is something reasonably stable and perennially available. The tip of your nose generally isn’t going anywhere. Neither is your hara. And neither is your left nipple. I prefer the tip of my nose since it orients my attention forward and seems to “set my mind in front” as advised by the Buddha.

I’d advise against focusing on anything circular like the microcosmic orbit of tai chi as this can lead to really bad upsurges of unfocused energy. This has actually given me fevers in the past during qi gong work and is ultimately not conducive to calming the mind simply due to its mobility.

And above all else, you aren’t focusing your mind or concentrating. Instead, simply keep the mind in one spot. Samadhi literally means to gather together in one place. If the sheep wander off, go retrieve them. But don’t crush them into the ground with your boot once you have them corralled.

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