Buddha's first koan?

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Eelco ten Have, modified 7 Years ago.

Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 79 Join Date: 7/20/13 Recent Posts
This morning I was contemplating the next strophe in a sutta.

Breathing in long he understands, I breathe in long.

Or breathing out long he understands I breathe out long.

Breathing in short he understands, I breathe in short.

Or breathing out short he understands, I breathe out short.

This got me thinking about the breath. From my Chinese medicine studies I know that yin and yang cannot exist without each other. Something is yang only in relation to something that is less yang thus becoming the yin in the experience. Also with the breath. A breath is only long if we have a reference to a short breath. Or a short breath is only short in relation to a long one.

In meditation however is it not so we should experience every breath in the now? In the now there is no past or future so there should not be a reference to this breath being longer or shorter than the breath I am breathing now should there?

With Love

Eelco
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Bruno Loff, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
No need for such confusion. The purpose of the instruction is to make sure that you remain mindful of the breath. If you can assess, at each in and out breath, whether it is longer than usual or shorter than usual, then you are sticking with it, you are paying attention to it, you are trying to assess it, evaluate it. The reason the buddha tells you to do this is because the skills you practice while doing this (mindfulness — the ability to stay with a specific theme in the mind, analysis of qualities — the ability to break up experience into its constituents, and concentration — mental stillness) are essential to the path.

It has nothing to do with yin and yang. Or with making comparisons with memories past or the imagined future.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
What B.Lo said. =]

No need for such confusion. The purpose of the instruction is to make sure that you remain mindful of the breath. If you can assess, at each in and out breath, whether it is longer than usual or shorter than usual, then you are sticking with it, you are paying attention to it, you are trying to assess it, evaluate it. The reason the buddha tells you to do this is because the skills you practice while doing this (mindfulness — the ability to stay with a specific theme in the mind, analysis of qualities — the ability to break up experience into its constituents, and concentration — mental stillness) are essential to the path.

It has nothing to do with yin and yang. Or with making comparisons with memories past or the imagined future.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Koans developed way after the Buddha died. You won't find them in the Pali canon. Everything is fairly straightforward in the canon, I think.
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Eelco ten Have, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 79 Join Date: 7/20/13 Recent Posts
Thank you for the responses.

I realize i may have misworded the intent of my OP. Sorry for that, although my english is quite good it is not my native language so I sometimes miss clarity.(tend to have that in my native language also ;-))

I understand that when these words were uttered the meaning that has carried through the ages is what you stated. An exersice or teaching to keep your mind, being, awareness focussed on the breath with an inquisitive mind. If i understood correctly that is.

Still it got me wondering though. What i've come to understand from enlightenment, As far as one can understand such things without having experienced the first nanas or stream entry. the focus / attention is in the sensate experience of the here and now.
Long and short breathing cannot exist at the same time in one body can they? so thinking or understanding one is breathing short or long, must include the memory(past) to compare the current breath to the remembered one(or remembered impression of several to create a mental avarage of what is "normal").

So for you stream enterers.. do you still discern long or short breaths when you hold the breath as a medative object? or does that fall away.

I realize this questioning is nothing more than a futile braingame, but as i am still identifying with that to some(a lot) degree. I 'l play anyway..

WIth Love
Eelco
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Nikolai ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Eelco ten Have:

Still it got me wondering though. What i've come to understand from enlightenment, As far as one can understand such things without having experienced the first nanas or stream entry. the focus / attention is in the sensate experience of the here and now.
Long and short breathing cannot exist at the same time in one body can they? so thinking or understanding one is breathing short or long, must include the memory(past) to compare the current breath to the remembered one(or remembered impression of several to create a mental avarage of what is "normal").



In my experience and my own take on the anapansati instructions, they are there to follow in order to master the art of fabricating the jhanas. The path (at least the one springing from the anapanasati instructions) is one of mastering the art of fabrication in order to learn the cause and effect processes (dependent origination) in order to learn how such fabrications come about and how their cessation comes about.

All your mental suffering is one form or other a fabrication/s of mind. You develop the means to fabricate conducive pleasant and then neutral fabrications (jhanas) that put a temporary halt to the shitty fabrications (5 hindrances). Once one masters the how and why of both the arising and ceasing of fabrications, dispassion for such fabrications gains a foot hold. This then leads to relinquishment of all such fabrications, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. This leads to freedom from the unsatisfactory nature of fabrications i.e. all your mental dissatisfaction.

Being in the present moment is somewhat what happens when you learn the art of fabrication, but it isn't really the objective of learning the art of fabrication as far as I see it. Mastering the art of fabricating is the objective in order to see all the ins and outs of such mental overlays, their arising and cessation. As I see it, the anapansati instructions are for this reason.

Nick

Edited for clarity
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Eelco ten Have, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Buddha's first koan?

Posts: 79 Join Date: 7/20/13 Recent Posts
Thanks Nikolai.

Your article is the most compact and workable explanation i have come across yet.
Thank you so much..

With Love
Eelco

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