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Vipassana: Noting/Mahasi Style

Should I return to breath after noting? (Focus In Shinzen Young Style&

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Hi everyone,

(I hope this is the right category for this thread)

my name is Dominik, I have been practicing Vipassana for a year now, my main teacher is Shinzen Young. I practice 1 hour every morning, mostly what he calls "Focus In". I usually start by focussing on breath sensations at the nose until my mind is relatively quiet and concentrated, then I do this protocol right here.

My question are twofold

1) I have done a bit of samatha (focussing on breath) but most of my practice is vipassana. How do I find out whether to build concentration first or to go with the "dry" vipassana approach?
2) I notice many other teachers recommend going back to breath after each instance of noting an arising object. Shinzen advocates sort of a spread out awareness from which you focus on objects when they arise. I focus on them for a while if they dont vanish and from that I move on to other objects that arise. What's the best choice between those two options.

Thanks everyone for answars and best wishes to all of you
Dominik

RE: Should I return to breath after noting? (Focus In Shinzen Young St
Answer
3/7/12 12:01 PM as a reply to Dominik J.
Hi, and welcome to DhO!

I found your post searching for the keyword "Shinzen", and thought I would answer in the hope that a late answer is better than none at all...

I am just teaching myself Shinzen's noting protocols, as they strike me as robust and very well-thought-through. Having tried the Mahasi instructions in various ways off and on for a few months, it was only a few days ago when I came upon the "Focus Out" protocol that I was able to get the noting sustained for more than a few minutes. Just starting out with this, I am also finding that starting with the breath makes a lot of sense, but I can't tell if that is because it is so prominent, or because I am just used to it, or both. Having said that, what is prominent fluctuates from instant to instant, and that surely is kind of the point. I am still torn between noting "rising, falling" and "touch, touch". It probably makes almost no difference in the long run, unless it keeps me from actually sitting.

As for wet or dry vipassana, my sense is that dry promises faster results if you can do it, but I personally have had a lot of trouble doing it without going back and working on some concentration first. It seems to boil down to individual temperaments and proclivities. I have also read and heard about the "dangers" of being seduced by pleasant concentration states, and I don't detect any tendency in that direction myself but I believe I have observed it in others. I like Shinzen's scheme for Focus on Rest as simply one of the 5 Ways, which seems to tone down the whole "wet/dry" controversy and be saying something like "Look, this is healthy and productive in one way, and that is healthy and productive in another way, so pick one (or two, or more) and get started!"

RE: Should I return to breath after noting? (Focus In Shinzen Young St
Answer
3/29/12 2:58 PM as a reply to Dominik J.
I just found this video where Shinzen explains exactly why he does not teach returning to the breath. He doesn't want students floundering for decades in Equanimity. "I don't want you to have a center. I want the center to have you."

RE: Should I return to breath after noting? (Focus In Shinzen Young St
Answer
3/29/12 5:11 PM as a reply to Tarver .
 Tarver :
I just found this video where Shinzen explains exactly why he does not teach returning to the breath. He doesn't want students floundering for decades in Equanimity. "I don't want you to have a center. I want the center to have you."


If you were talking to shinzen in a less formal setting, he'd probably give you the same advice but with a hand wave that indicates something like 'but dont worry about it one way or the other. just see what happens, dont force anything'.

RE: Should I return to breath after noting? (Focus In Shinzen Young St
Answer
3/30/12 12:40 PM as a reply to m m a.
m m a:
 Tarver :
I just found this video where Shinzen explains exactly why he does not teach returning to the breath. He doesn't want students floundering for decades in Equanimity. "I don't want you to have a center. I want the center to have you."


If you were talking to shinzen in a less formal setting, he'd probably give you the same advice but with a hand wave that indicates something like 'but dont worry about it one way or the other. just see what happens, dont force anything'.


Yeah, there is a fascinating "karmic" balance between what is right effort now, and skillfully surfing the momentum of habit within practice.

RE: Should I return to breath after noting? (Focus In Shinzen Young St
Answer
3/31/12 12:59 AM as a reply to Dominik J.
Dominik J:
Hi everyone,

(I hope this is the right category for this thread)

my name is Dominik, I have been practicing Vipassana for a year now, my main teacher is Shinzen Young. I practice 1 hour every morning, mostly what he calls "Focus In". I usually start by focussing on breath sensations at the nose until my mind is relatively quiet and concentrated, then I do this protocol right here.

My question are twofold

1) I have done a bit of samatha (focussing on breath) but most of my practice is vipassana. How do I find out whether to build concentration first or to go with the "dry" vipassana approach?
2) I notice many other teachers recommend going back to breath after each instance of noting an arising object. Shinzen advocates sort of a spread out awareness from which you focus on objects when they arise. I focus on them for a while if they dont vanish and from that I move on to other objects that arise. What's the best choice between those two options.

Thanks everyone for answars and best wishes to all of you
Dominik

1. I found this answer helpful: http://dharmatreasure.com/dharma-talks/qa-amount-of-concentration-needed-for-enlightenment/
2. The sensations of the breath is rather Focus Out because it's a physical sensation and unless there are sensations there associated with emotion it would fall under the Focus Out method, more specifically Feel Out. Shinzen changed the labels he teach you view them here if you are not familiar with them http://www.shinzen.org/Retreat%20Reading/NT_GB_1.65.pdf
I don't know what's best but if you work according to Shinzens instruction you would not go back to the breath, you would just work with See In, Hear In, Feel In or Do Nothing. Or a combination of those.

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