Message Boards Message Boards

Concentration

Is there a practice for concentration where the mind is the subject?

Toggle
I have been reading a book from buddhanet.net called 3 Teach. It appears that mostly the author practices deity (Chenrenzig) meditation, which I do not really know much about. I myself have been practising mindfulness/breath meditation.

One thing that did get me thinking however, was a phrase "... just observe the mind without distraction."

I wondered if this would be a good focus. It definitely seems different to focusing on the breath. I tried it momentarily and found an immediate quieting of the mind - though this may just be the beginner effect.

I wondered if anyone here had considered or practised a similar thing and whether you would recommend it.

I feel like I am just starting out by the way. I am not sure if I have reached A&P, but I regularly meditate around 30 minutes each evening.

Best wishes,

Cammil

RE: Is there a practice for concentration where the mind is the subject?
Answer
1/28/12 8:48 AM as a reply to Cammil Taank.
the breath is the interface between body and mind, through the breath the mind influences the body and through the breath the body influences the mind. breath meditation is an effective way of watching the mind and understanding cause and effect in the mind. as you keep working on concentration on the breath you will get into pleasant states and concentrated states from which the most prominent thing available to watch is the mind. it is very difficult to watch the mind continuously enough for insight into the cause of suffering without concentration. i'd suggest you keep working with breath meditation, but don't just watch the in+out, try and play around with the aspects of the breath which you can control to get a nice feeling of fullness throughout the body. observing the mind without distraction is easier said than done, but is done fairly easily if there is enough concentration and pleasantness. furthermore, you get even more insight than you would by just watching, because you can also experiment, which is how we understand causation.

RE: Is there a practice for concentration where the mind is the subject?
Answer
1/28/12 9:17 AM as a reply to Cammil Taank.
Cammil Taank:
I have been reading a book from buddhanet.net called 3 Teach. It appears that mostly the author practices deity (Chenrenzig) meditation, which I do not really know much about. I myself have been practising mindfulness/breath meditation.

One thing that did get me thinking however, was a phrase "... just observe the mind without distraction."

I wondered if this would be a good focus. It definitely seems different to focusing on the breath. I tried it momentarily and found an immediate quieting of the mind - though this may just be the beginner effect.

I wondered if anyone here had considered or practised a similar thing and whether you would recommend it.

I feel like I am just starting out by the way. I am not sure if I have reached A&P, but I regularly meditate around 30 minutes each evening.

Best wishes,

Cammil

Some call this the witness or awareness itself Or the knowing mind. A good way I cultivate this is just simply asking, "what knows this" and the knowing mind becomes the subject. One can dwell in the knowing mind. And anytime during the day that anxiety or stress is arising one can just ask "what knows this".
Hope this help emoticon
Ross

RE: Is there a practice for concentration where the mind is the subject?
Answer
1/29/12 11:52 AM as a reply to Cammil Taank.
Cammil Taank:
Is there a practice for concentration where the mind is the subject?

One thing that did get me thinking however, was a phrase "... just observe the mind without distraction."

I wondered if this would be a good focus. It definitely seems different to focusing on the breath. I tried it momentarily and found an immediate quieting of the mind - though this may just be the beginner effect.

I wondered if anyone here had considered or practised a similar thing and whether you would recommend it.

To answer your question, yes there is a practice, and it is called satipatthana. The practice of satipatthana is an advanced practice in which anyone at any stage can partake. But is best undertaken once one has been able to establish a requisite amount of concentration in order to satisfactorily practice this method.

Majjhima Nikaya 10; Bhk. Nanamoli translation:
2. "Bhikkhus, this is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for the attainment of the true way, for the realization of Nibbana — namely, the four establishments of mindfulness.

3. "What are the four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

(CONTEMPLATION OF MIND)

34. "And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind as mind? Here a bhikkhu understands mind affected by lust as mind affected by lust, and mind unaffected by lust as mind unaffected by lust. He understands mind affected by hate as mind affected by hate, and mind unaffected by hate as mind unaffected by hate. He understands mind affected by delusion as mind affected by delusion, and mind unaffected by delustion as mind unaffected by delusion. He understands contracted mind as contracted mind, and distracted mind as distracted mind. He understands exalted mind as exalted mind, and unexalted mind as unexalted mind. He understands surpassed mind as surpassed mind, and unsurpassed mind as unsurpassed mind. He understands concentrated mind as concentrated mind, and unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated mind. He understands liberated mind as liberated mind, and unliberated mind as unliberated mind.[155]

(INSIGHT)

35. "In this way he abides contemplating mind as mind internally, or he abides contemplating mind as mind externally, or he abides contemplating mind as mind both internally and externally. Or else he abides contemplating in mind its vanishing factors, or he abides contemplating in mind its arising factors, or he abides contemplating in mind both its arising and vanishing factors. Or else mindfulness that 'there is mind' is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness. And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind as mind."

Footnote:
155. The pair of examples of citta given in this passage contrast states of mind of wholesome and unwholesome, or developed or undeveloped character. An exception, however, is the pair "contracted" and "distracted," which are both unwholesome, the former due to sloth and torpor, the latter due to restless and remorse. Majjhima Atthakatha explains "exalted mind" and "unsurpassed mind" as the mind pertaining to the level of the jhanas and immaterial meditative attainments, and "unexalted mind" and "surpassed mind" as the mind pertaining to the level of sense-sphere consciousness. "Liberated mind" must be understood as a mind temporarily and partly freed from defilements through insight or the jhanas. Since the practice of satipatthana pertains to the preliminary phase of the path aimed at the supramundane paths of deliverance, this last category should not be understood as a mind liberated through the attainment of the supramundane paths.


I agree with a lot of what josh r s had to say. Work on developing concentration and the ease of attaining to concentrated states. Then your contemplations of mind will yield more fruit.

josh r s:

breath meditation is an effective way of watching the mind and understanding cause and effect in the mind.

as you keep working on concentration on the breath you will get into pleasant states and concentrated states from which the most prominent thing available to watch is the mind. it is very difficult to watch the mind continuously enough for insight into the cause of suffering without concentration.

i'd suggest you keep working with breath meditation, but don't just watch the in+out, try and play around with the aspects of the breath which you can control to get a nice feeling of fullness throughout the body.

observing the mind without distraction is easier said than done, but is done fairly easily if there is enough concentration and pleasantness.