Should I mix pure concentration with noting?

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L J, modified 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 9:41 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 9:41 AM

Should I mix pure concentration with noting?

Posts: 168 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hi everyone,

I know a lot of people religiously practice shamatha or calm abiding practices before they begin mahasi noting, say 20 mins concentration and 40 noting, but for me, whenever I do concentration beforehand, it makes me space out a lot more whilst I am trying to note. so for me, I just begin the session with noting straight away. I've heard many people say that you can enter very high jhanas with just constant noting, however some people say that you need a dedicated shamatha practice, what do you guys think?
George S, modified 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 10:09 AM
Created 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 10:09 AM

RE: Should I mix pure concentration with noting?

Posts: 2596 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I think that is an interesting observation!

Each practitioner seems to have a unique balance of shamatha and vipassana which is optimal for them, and that balance changes over time as well.

In an ideal world, one sully subdues the hindrances during shamatha and has a deep experience of bliss and calm, which makes the mind receptive for vipassana. What often seems to happen though is that one has a moderately pleasurable experience due to partially subduing the hindrances, but then is left clinging to that incomplete experience and avoiding whatever hindrances remain.

What you could do is try to investigate more closely what it feels like to be spaced out after shamatha. What are you clinging to and what are you avoiding?
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Dream Walker, modified 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 1:53 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 1:50 PM

Should I mix pure concentration with noting?

Posts: 1478 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Pure concentration?  Some people say many things- as such I would recommend searching the Dho for past conversations. This topic is probably the most discussed on the forum over the years.
use google-
site:www.dharmaoverground.org noting dry jhana concentration [other various key words]

Good luck,
~D
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 2:28 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 8/5/22 2:04 PM

RE: Should I mix pure concentration with noting?

Posts: 1215 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
L J
Hi everyone,

I know a lot of people religiously practice shamatha or calm abiding practices before they begin mahasi noting, say 20 mins concentration and 40 noting, but for me, whenever I do concentration beforehand, it makes me space out a lot more whilst I am trying to note. so for me, I just begin the session with noting straight away. I've heard many people say that you can enter very high jhanas with just constant noting, however some people say that you need a dedicated shamatha practice, what do you guys think?


If by "shamatha" you are doing a practice involving intense concentration, you might try relaxing forms of samatha that do not involve intense focus and see how that works. I find intense concentration practices don't work well for me because they cause suppression of thoughts and emotions which produces irritability which is the opposite of what I am looking for. Also mental turbulence is in a large part due to stress and mental fatigue, so relaxing samatha can help produce better concentration during noting. At least that is my experience -  the samatha I do concentrates the mind but it does it by relaxing not forcing.

As for as feeling "spaced out", intense concentration can do that, and intense concentration during noting does that to me too. 

Otherwise you should do what you feel works best for you.  If only doing noting works best for you, then go with that.

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