10

There are several things I would advise: Start with your body. Change your attention from "life" to feelings in your body: tensions, emotions, energies etc. Reconnect with the parts you've not been paying attention to. Feet are often completely forgotten. Relearn to feel everything, first part by part, then all of your body at once. Relax all tensions, ...


8

This is more an unfortunate example of problematic translation than anything. appento, for example, means rushing forward, plunging or entering into, or fixing upon. The commentary surrounding this word, sampayuttadhamme ārammaṇe appento viya pavattatīti vitakko appanā would better be translated as "Applied thought that proceeds as though plunging ...


7

The essential difference is that in Buddhist meditation, at some point one uses one's mind to actively examine and investigate one's direct experience and to realize it's nature that way. This is the seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold path, Right Mindfulness, Samma-Sati. It is described in the Sattipatthana Sutta like this: "There is the case where a ...


7

The Suttas usually define Samma-Samadhi as the four jhanas, but in some Suttas it gives a different explanation. For example, in the Mahacattarisa Sutta the Buddha said: The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right ...


7

Great question, you hit the nail on the head with this question. The goal of Buddhist path is liberation of mind. Liberation of mind is cessation of grasping and attachment. Cessation of grasping and attachment is letting go. So when you meditate, you look at your mind, you see grasping and attachment (it is easy to detect because it always creates dukkha, ...


6

"Jhana is like a meditative absorption state? I've come across this term." "[Jhanas are] distinctive meditative states of high concentration in which the mind becomes unified. [...] Jhana is often referred to as an absorption state, since the mind in Jhana is so deeply concentrated that it 'absorbs' into the meditation object." Richard Sankman, The ...


6

The Visuddhimmagga defines upacāra samadhi in IV 32-34: Now concentration is of two kinds [access and absorption]. [...] The difference between the two kinds of concentration is this. The factors are not strong in access. [...] just as when a young child is lifted up and stood on its feet , it repeatedly falls down on the ground. [...] The arousing of the ...


6

There are many kinds of meditation, and as many ways of explaining them as there are people. After years of study and practice, here is a meditation I recommend. I call this "the coming to one's senses meditation" :) Sit any way you want, as long as it's not too uncomfortable nor too comfortable as to put you to sleep. You can change your posture any way ...


5

It could be in any order: "There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity...Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight...Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight..." ~ AN 4.170 ~


5

Although the higher jhanas are not required, they're strongly encouraged by the Buddha evident in the high frequency with which they are mentioned throughout the suttas. Ven. Gunaratana in his "The Jhanas" wrote: The Buddha is constantly seen in the suttas encouraging his disciples to develop jhana. The four jhanas are invariably included in the complete ...


4

I think the term for what you are describing is Samatha. On the Wikipedia page, you can find the "Nine mental abidings", a description of the process. There are also Zen teachings such as "The Ten Oxherding Pictures" that describe the process. Most of these teachings follow the idea of meditating "with support", using a focus (such as the mental image of a ...


4

From the viewpoint of Theravada Buddhism, we definitely do not teach this way. It's impossible to empty the mind. Thoughts pop up all the time. We can, however, train ourselves not to follow these thoughts. In other words, we want the mind to become stable and free of dependencies. Here is a basic outline of the method of Mahasi Sayadaw, a prominent 20th-...


4

You didn't mention whether you are a University student or a high school student. I'm going to assume you are in University for this answer. Since you follow Buddhist ideas, you are likely familiar with the 5 precepts which are voluntarily taken by lay people who wish to follow the Buddha's teachings and who recognize that living in a manner that is ...


4

I'm far from an expert and even more far from knowing all the technical words, but I sit in Soto tradition. As @enenalan already mentioned, Soto has a more shamatha approach, called shinkantaza, or just sitting. (@enealan: there is your answer, even if I just acknowledged to not answer another answer ;-) ) The meditation in Soto, at least in the tradition ...


4

From your quote, it sounds like the lack of uplifted energy is the hindrance of sloth and torpor, one of the five hindrances to practice. To quote Ajahn Brahmavamso: Sloth and torpor refers to that heaviness of body and dullness of mind which drag one down into disabling inertia and thick depression. The Lord Buddha compared it to being imprisoned in ...


4

I think something is lost in translation here. It has been mentioned before that Thanissaro Bhikkhu sometimes is off the mark in his translations. If we look at some other translations of the Nimitta Sutta - Piya Tan argues that the three bases mentioned in the sutta are: Basis of samadhi, The effort sign and The equanimity sign. So 'uplifted energy' here ...


4

I recalled a dharma talk by Ajahn Thanissaro Bhikku on Youtube. In it he compared mindfulness and meditation to a skill. And like anything else in life you need to practice to become good at that skill. At the beginning your mind is full of its habitual mess of cravings, frustrations, anger, hate, distractions, torpor, conceit, because you never experience ...


4

Ajahn Brahm wrote a book about jhana called 'Mindfulness, Bliss & Beyond'. It is 291 pages long. The first 65 pages are at this link. The method in this book emphasizes 'letting go' & is thus similar to many Zen teachings, such as the Xinxin Ming. While I have not read it, a well-known book on Xinxin Ming is Faith in Mind by Master Sheng-Yen.


4

I think you did a really good job of breaking down your doubts into individual points. 1) Everywhere I keep reading stuff of the kind "Observe your thoughts without judgment". What does that really translate into in practice? How do you observe without judging? I mean, if you get sad thoughts, you get sad too. Thats why they are called sad thoughts. ...


4

Since you are philosophical, ponder: "What is beauty? Why does it exist? What is its purpose?" In Buddhism, five questions are always asked about a thing: (1) How does the thing arise (samudaya)? (2) How does the thing pass (atthaṅgama)? (3) What is the attraction (assāda) of the thing? (4) What is the drawback or danger (ādīnava) of the thing? (5) ...


3

Of course! You are supposed to practice the two together! Btw, let's use proper terminology: jhana = samatha practice, dry insight = vipassana. To use even simpler terms, the former is called "calming meditation" the latter "awareness meditation" They are complementary not supplementary to one another and actually really one practice... "Really one practice"...


3

The breath is one of forty meditation objects according to the Visuddhimagga. For the full detail, see here, for a brief summary, see here


3

From Mahayana perspective, the Four Arupa Jhanas are before, not after the other four. Of them, only the Sphere of Nothingness and the Sphere of Neither-Perception-Nor-Nonperception are of any real significance, while the first two are more like preliminary stages of the third. The Sphere of Nothingness is the culmination of the teaching of Arada Kalama, ...


3

I'm sure Sleeping Tiger meditation can help with this, if you can learn to tolerate the pain. The idea is to hold this very inconvenient posture for 20 minutes, while concentrating the mind on the lower abdominal breathing. While very painful for most people, it does miracles to one's ability to concentrate and follow through on things!


3

Actually, a point that is not well understood is that, among those who follow the Pali canon, there is no controversy over whether some jhāna is necessary; the answer is in all cases yes. The controversy is really over which jhāna is necessary. There are three types of jhāna in total: samatha-jhāna - jhāna based on a conceptual object that, due to its ...


3

A meditation teacher I once had said that access concentration (the stage before the jhanas) is the same level of concentration that one has when reading a good book or when fully engaged in conversation. No it's not. Reading a book or engaged in conversation lacks Ekagatta or One Pointed Concentration which is one of the Five Factors of Jhana. Access ...


3

Initially you don't need much Jhana to start with. (This is needed towards the end of the journey but if you can develop it from the start it is well and good but not necessary. ) But wisdom is built on the foundations of concentration, so as your practice matures and wisdom increase you have to develop concentration to match wisdom. In the general case, ...


3

The formless jhanas are useful for understanding later stages but all require at least first jhana to cultivate successfully. In some circles they are considered recreational or dangerous to dwell in unnecessarily. Remember that the Buddha mastered these states and declared them all incomplete. According to Daniel Ingram in "Mastering the Core Teachings of ...


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