RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

saniar re ader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 3:35 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 3:35 AM

Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 5 Join Date: 2/2/23 Recent Posts
Hello, I have been interested in meditation for years and finally decided to take it seriously. I have read three "courses" such as "Manual of Insight" by Mahasi, TMI by Culadasa, and Shinzen's pdfs. I have some problems in choosing a meditation approach: there is no one near where I live who can teach me, my native language is not English, and I don't have much knowledge about advanced stages and attention. 
I am concerned about making a mistake in choosing an approach that in advanced stages is not the most appropriate because I initially chose the simplest one.

I would like to know if it would be appropriate to meditate with an approach like Culadasa's and another with an approach like Shinzen's on the same day. Also, is Mahasi in a middle ground between both approaches or is it a misperception on my part?

Is it better to focus solely on one approach?
Which approach can take me further without going to a retreat? (there are no retreats near where I live)

I am grateful for any help or advice you can provide. 
Thank you.
Aviva HaMakom, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 6:43 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 6:43 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 103 Join Date: 12/17/22 Recent Posts
I am just a beginner too, but this is my intuitive reaction to your question:

Why not give yourself permission to be like a kindergartener who grabs all the crayons at once and starts drawing with them one after the other? Why not experiment with all of these methods for a while, simply trying them out in no particular order and seeing how each of them feels to you? 

I think the "best meditation method" for any given person is the one they feel most inspired to practice, the most excited about, the most fascinated with. You need many hours on the cushion for any method, so you may as well pick the nicest vehicle for you. I don't think it's something you can simply decide in advance, unless of course you feel extremely drawn to one tradition and your heart calls you to it.

Would you rather play to your strengths so that you get fascinated and keep going, or do you feel a deep call to shore up your weaknesses and do the opposite of what is easy?

If you are more of a desire type, inspired by your wanting, and you are good at being fascinated by things for long amounts of time (binge-watching movies counts!), perhaps you want to try TMI and develop your concentration and jhana first. The Buddha himself developed deep concentration before ever inventing vipassana, it is a traditional path to travel and one the Buddha suggested to many of his students (at least some jhana mastery first, then insight). But if you're less good at seeing the harsh realities of life and things-as-they-are, and you want to correct that, then maybe try Mahasi noting first and use your natural concentration to make insight progress.

Are you an aversive type, driven by a desire for things to be other than they are and wanting Away From It All, to "do it right and fast" with virtue and self-discipline? Maybe start with Mahasi and note your face off, literally. Or, if your mind needs softening and joy and pleasure to balance you out, go with the TMI concentration path first.

I think there is a deep mystery in our aversions and desires that point us towards the exact remedies that we need to let go of them.

As my teacher likes to say with great feeling: this is YOUR path, YOUR awakening journey (until there is no-you, but for now . . . ), YOUR practice, and not even an enlightened master can simply tell you the best path.

Best wishes and metta in finding what is right for you :-).
saniar re ader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 11:47 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 11:44 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 5 Join Date: 2/2/23 Recent Posts
Thanks for your advice, it is appreciated
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 8:57 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 8:57 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 330 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Take a look at midlmeditation.com
It's a well designed practice and I can speak to its efficacy from personal experience.
saniar re ader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 11:46 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/2/23 11:46 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 5 Join Date: 2/2/23 Recent Posts
Thank you for the recommendation, I've taken a look at the website, Is MIDL similar to TMI?<br />Can you give me some advice on how to use it, perhaps in combination with the books I've already read such as the ones by Mahasi and Culadasa?"
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 2/3/23 12:02 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/3/23 12:02 PM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
saniar re. ader
Hello, I have been interested in meditation for years and finally decided to take it seriously. I have read three "courses" such as "Manual of Insight" by Mahasi, TMI by Culadasa, and Shinzen's pdfs. I have some problems in choosing a meditation approach: there is no one near where I live who can teach me, my native language is not English, and I don't have much knowledge about advanced stages and attention. 
I am concerned about making a mistake in choosing an approach that in advanced stages is not the most appropriate because I initially chose the simplest one.

I would like to know if it would be appropriate to meditate with an approach like Culadasa's and another with an approach like Shinzen's on the same day. Also, is Mahasi in a middle ground between both approaches or is it a misperception on my part?

Is it better to focus solely on one approach?
Which approach can take me further without going to a retreat? (there are no retreats near where I live)

I am grateful for any help or advice you can provide. 
Thank you.


You might find this free on-line course based on the teachings of Shinzen young helpful.
https://unifiedmindfulness.com/try-um/

I would suggest you first find a technique that helps you to be relaxed and quiets your mental chatter. The exact technique doesn't matter as long it helps you to relax and quiet your mind. You can try various ones and skip around or not as you prefer.

When you are relaxed and your mind is quiet start watching the activity of the mind - notice how dukkha arises and fades - notice unpleasant emotions arising and fading, notice the physical sensations in your body that accompany emotions. Notice how your sense of self is tied into the unpleasant emotions, and that your sense of self may change with each instance of dukkha. When you do this you are studying the three characteristics and dependent origination.

Buddha taught that tranquility and insight are two qualities of mind that should both be cultivated.
saniar re ader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/4/23 7:18 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/4/23 7:18 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 5 Join Date: 2/2/23 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
saniar re. ader
Hello, I have been interested in meditation for years and finally decided to take it seriously. I have read three "courses" such as "Manual of Insight" by Mahasi, TMI by Culadasa, and Shinzen's pdfs. I have some problems in choosing a meditation approach: there is no one near where I live who can teach me, my native language is not English, and I don't have much knowledge about advanced stages and attention. 
I am concerned about making a mistake in choosing an approach that in advanced stages is not the most appropriate because I initially chose the simplest one.

I would like to know if it would be appropriate to meditate with an approach like Culadasa's and another with an approach like Shinzen's on the same day. Also, is Mahasi in a middle ground between both approaches or is it a misperception on my part?

Is it better to focus solely on one approach?
Which approach can take me further without going to a retreat? (there are no retreats near where I live)

I am grateful for any help or advice you can provide. 
Thank you.


You might find this free on-line course based on the teachings of Shinzen young helpful.
https://unifiedmindfulness.com/try-um/

I would suggest you first find a technique that helps you to be relaxed and quiets your mental chatter. The exact technique doesn't matter as long it helps you to relax and quiet your mind. You can try various ones and skip around or not as you prefer.

When you are relaxed and your mind is quiet start watching the activity of the mind - notice how dukkha arises and fades - notice unpleasant emotions arising and fading, notice the physical sensations in your body that accompany emotions. Notice how your sense of self is tied into the unpleasant emotions, and that your sense of self may change with each instance of dukkha. When you do this you are studying the three characteristics and dependent origination.

Buddha taught that tranquility and insight are two qualities of mind that should both be cultivated.


Thanks for the advice! That's something I've been thinking about because Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches. I'm just curious about Shinzen's recommendation to not use an object of meditation as an anchor, is it an advantage or disadvantage compared to other approaches?
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 2/4/23 5:05 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/4/23 4:58 PM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
saniar re. ader

Thanks for the advice! That's something I've been thinking about because Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches. I'm just curious about Shinzen's recommendation to not use an object of meditation as an anchor, is it an advantage or disadvantage compared to other approaches?


Can you be more specific about what Shinzen said about not using an object of meditation as an anchor, Is there a reference or quote you can provide?

And is there a reference you can provide that explains how "Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches"

​​​​​​​
Thanks
saniar re ader, modified 1 Year ago at 2/5/23 4:20 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/5/23 4:17 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 5 Join Date: 2/2/23 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
saniar re. ader

Thanks for the advice! That's something I've been thinking about because Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches. I'm just curious about Shinzen's recommendation to not use an object of meditation as an anchor, is it an advantage or disadvantage compared to other approaches?


Can you be more specific about what Shinzen said about not using an object of meditation as an anchor, Is there a reference or quote you can provide?

And is there a reference you can provide that explains how "Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches"

​​​​​​​
Thanks
I came across a message on Reddit that explained these two things.

https://youtu.be/EyZPoIVOBS4
​​​​​​​"Shinzen addresses this question really eloquently in his No Place To Stand video and I think sums up the major difference in his and Culadasa's approach. Shinzen intentionally doesn't want you to have a center/home base. This is ultimately where the fixed perspective vipassana attempts to take you but Shinzen takes a more hybrid zen inspired approach in his main See/Hear/Feel method to intentionally decenter you. He "wants the center to have you."

"As for the stages Shinzen's 'system' is really a meta-system that distills all the world's contemplative practices into one common framework. Every 'quadrant' in it is described as a complete path. You could, for example, formulate Culadasa's style meditation inside Shinzen's system. So there is no real conflict. TMI is the 'Feel' practice with a very narrow 'focus range' of the nose area. Shinzen's system allows you to stay in one focus area for your entire path or mix and match."

​​​​​​​https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/77mztc/comment/doouufa/
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 2/6/23 5:46 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/6/23 5:46 AM

RE: Help in choosing a long-term meditation approach

Posts: 1771 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
saniar re. ader
Jim Smith
saniar re. ader

Thanks for the advice! That's something I've been thinking about because Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches. I'm just curious about Shinzen's recommendation to not use an object of meditation as an anchor, is it an advantage or disadvantage compared to other approaches?


Can you be more specific about what Shinzen said about not using an object of meditation as an anchor, Is there a reference or quote you can provide?

And is there a reference you can provide that explains how "Shinzen's system, being a meta-system, can explain the other approaches"

​​​​​​​
Thanks
I came across a message on Reddit that explained these two things.

https://youtu.be/EyZPoIVOBS4
​​​​​​​"Shinzen addresses this question really eloquently in his No Place To Stand video and I think sums up the major difference in his and Culadasa's approach. Shinzen intentionally doesn't want you to have a center/home base. This is ultimately where the fixed perspective vipassana attempts to take you but Shinzen takes a more hybrid zen inspired approach in his main See/Hear/Feel method to intentionally decenter you. He "wants the center to have you."

"As for the stages Shinzen's 'system' is really a meta-system that distills all the world's contemplative practices into one common framework. Every 'quadrant' in it is described as a complete path. You could, for example, formulate Culadasa's style meditation inside Shinzen's system. So there is no real conflict. TMI is the 'Feel' practice with a very narrow 'focus range' of the nose area. Shinzen's system allows you to stay in one focus area for your entire path or mix and match."

​​​​​​​https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/77mztc/comment/doouufa/


Thanks for the clarification.

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