MUSIC AS AN OBJECT FOR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE/MEDITATION

SINDWA KANYIMBA, modified 5 Years ago.

MUSIC AS AN OBJECT FOR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE/MEDITATION

Post: 1 Join Date: 8/11/15 Recent Posts
How suitable is music as an object for concentration practice/meditation? I love music very much and would easily sustain my meditation practice if I use music as the object for meditation. Can someone with experience guide me on how to use music for meditation.
thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MUSIC AS AN OBJECT FOR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE/MEDITATION

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
hi sindwa,
a few things come to mind here but since we're in THIS forum i would first say that many people here practice 'noting' or 'noticing' which is a type of miindfullness meditation.  this, unfortunately for you i think, would lead away from your obviously pleasure-based motivation scheme.  it would do this because an aspect of mindfullness is to develop a 'meta view' of arising phenomena.  in your case that would be moving from hearing splendid music to simply acknowleging the function of 'hearing'...again and again and again...

so if that seems to be somewhat destructive of your motivational framework, it is meant to be. in your framework 'enjoyment' is the motivation and in not seeing enjoyment as empty and a possibly chain holding you to the wheel of existence you miss one of the points of buddhist practice, namely the 2nd noble truth that craving is the cause of suffering.

now, i hate to descend into dogma..i really do.  so that's one possible answer.  there are plenty of traditions which put a lot of value on inspirational / devotional music.  it ain't my thang but who am i?  if it keeps you on the road to being a good person, helps you realte to some notion of a higher power orleads you to great truths put in those earbuds.

in my case its like sufi dancing or dedicational faith.  i know they work for some people but i aint that person.  the stuff blabbed about here (in this forum i mean) fit with my western formed concepts and bring the BIG esoteric questions down to a subtle and fine level where i can see them and see through them.

i hope this helps

tom
thumbnail
Jeff Wright, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MUSIC AS AN OBJECT FOR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE/MEDITATION

Posts: 82 Join Date: 4/16/15 Recent Posts
There are some answers to this question (or closely related questions) over on the Stack Exchange site:

http://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/10172/what-did-the-buddha-say-about-music
http://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/8228/is-it-considered-against-standard-buddhist-doctrine-to-meditate-with-music
http://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/9963/three-questions-about-sensual-desire

I think music is a wonderful part of a daily human existence. But it's probably not so suitable for an object of meditation.

Jeff
Benjie O K, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MUSIC AS AN OBJECT FOR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE/MEDITATION

Posts: 33 Join Date: 8/11/15 Recent Posts
I finally signed up for an account just to reply to this. 

You might be interested in looking into Kirtan chanting. While it's not an insight/vipassana practice, which as mentioned is the focus of this forum, it is a very pleasant and valuable practice in and of itself. I've been finding lately that spending a short amount of time (10 minutes) chanting before my more insight based practice has been very helpful in settling and calming my mind. It also tends to smooth out my rough edges and serve as a sort of punctuation mark between the rest of my day and my formal sitting time. 
thumbnail
Andy R, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: MUSIC AS AN OBJECT FOR CONCENTRATION PRACTICE/MEDITATION

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
I'd like to offer a contrasting opinion.

For me, music provokes all sorts of reaction ranging from simple physical sensations and feelings to complex emotions and imagery and more. It's also the case that there are lots of other things that provoke this for me as well, so in a very fundamental way, hearing music is no different than hearing any other set of sounds, and not different than experiencing any other sensations. Meditating on music, then, is a matter of picking the experience I want to train my attention on.

If you'd like to use music in your meditation practice, just like in other meditation practices, practice basics still apply: if you notice your attention has strayed, return your attention.

For vipassana meditation practice, the thing to keep in mind is that any sensation (e.g. thought, feeling, emotion, sound, vedena, etc.) that you can experience is a valid object for investigation. The three characteristics are present in all experience. If music can help you notice these in your experience, so much the better. So, meditating with music, in that respect, is no different than meditating on, for example, the changing feel and texture of the sensations of your breathing. The practice here is about noticing the three characteristics in those sensations, and when you stray, returning to the noticing.

If, instead of a vipassana practice, you would like to work on single-pointed concentration, you could pick something about the experience of music that is narrowly focused, and apply practice basics to that. The key to this is the same: if you notice you have strayed, return. The concentration practice is in the returning.

Besides being an object of meditation, music can often bring up and sustain feelings of joy, gratitude, equanimity, compassion, and loving-kindness. This is a great way to start a meditation session and a easy way to relax restlessness. 

Helpful?

Breadcrumb