MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

AbdouAbed, modified 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 10:38 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 10:38 PM

MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
Hi all,

I live in a place where there is (limited) Internet access but no teachers. I am trying to practice based on reading alone.

Found the DhO and hopes advanced practicioners are willing to share some of their knowledge.

Regards
MYJ
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 11:10 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/15/16 11:10 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
AbdouAbed:
Found the DhO and hopes advanced practicioners are willing to share some of their knowledge.
Read this twice -

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, an Unusually Hardcore
Dharma Book, by Daniel Ingram


Then ask a specific question.
Good luck,
~D
AbdouAbed, modified 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 10:43 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 10:43 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
[quote=
]Then ask a specific question.
Focusing on the breath: two situations arise:
1. The mind wanders, then awareness comes back to the breath some time later;
2. Awreness stays on the breath and one is also aware of sounds outside and sensations in the body (other than the breath). This seems to be happening simultaneousely.

Does this second situation count as "mind wandering", thus one has to aim to be aware only of the breath and nothing else?
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 6:05 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 6:04 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
AbdouAbed:
Focusing on the breath: two situations arise:
1. The mind wanders, then awareness comes back to the breath some time later;
2. Awreness stays on the breath and one is also aware of sounds outside and sensations in the body (other than the breath). This seems to be happening simultaneousely.

Does this second situation count as "mind wandering", thus one has to aim to be aware only of the breath and nothing else?
What is your goal?
AbdouAbed, modified 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 6:09 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/16/16 6:09 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
I'm doing insight practice.
Certainly have access concentration, Probably can access first Jhana and Maybe also second Jhana.
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 12:01 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 12:01 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
AbdouAbed:
I'm doing insight practice.
Certainly have access concentration, Probably can access first Jhana and Maybe also second Jhana.
May you reach your goals
Best of luck,
~D
thumbnail
Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 12:53 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 12:53 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Good luck! About the mind wandering, for what it's worth... don't worry or get upset if the mind wanders; every time you catch it wandering and can bring it back is a success and a step closer to being able to keep it from wandering for too long, if at all. Hope that's helpful.
AbdouAbed, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 2:42 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 2:42 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
Dream Walker:
AbdouAbed:
Found the DhO and hopes advanced practicioners are willing to share some of their knowledge.
Read this twice -

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, an Unusually Hardcore
Dharma Book, by Daniel Ingram


Then ask a specific question.
Good luck,
~D
Dream Walker:
AbdouAbed:
I'm doing insight practice.
Certainly have access concentration, Probably can access first Jhana and Maybe also second Jhana.
May you reach your goals
Best of luck,
~D

I am trying to do some Insight practice: investigating the three characteristics.
I certainly have 'access concentration' which is why I think I could move to Insight. (MCTB states that access concentration is enough to start insight practice).

During my meditation this is what happens:

1. I start with some concentration practice using the breath as object and reach what I consider to be first Jhana and maybe second Jhana;
2. I shift to investigating the three characteristics still using the breath as object of investigation.
3. Sometimes the mind wanders and awareness of the breath resumes some time later.
4. Other times: "I" seems to be at the center of a wide space filled with body sensations including the sensations that make the breath. That space is extended further by another space filled with sounds, some close and some far.

In this second situation, the "I" seems to be aware of all this at the same time but some sensations would be at the foreground and others would be in the background.

I understand from MCTB that we can be aware of only one sensation at the time and that as soon as we become aware of that sensation, it is gone and something else is experienced. However this is intellectual knowledge while the above is my actual experience.

My question is: In order to progress, should I strive to focus only on the breath at the exclusion of everything else? Or is it OK to maintain this wide focus? Or keep the focus on whatever is at the foreground and let everything else be.

Thank you for the kind wishes.
MYJ
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 8:21 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/17/16 8:21 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
AbdouAbed:
I am trying to do some Insight practice: investigating the three characteristics.
Goals -
1) Insite practice - Focus all your attention on the moment to moment experience as it happens with as much detail as possible. Do not choose what to notice.
2) Three Characteristic -Pick only one of the three characteristics to work on at a time and play with it. Tell me what you notice.
AbdouAbed:
I certainly have 'access concentration' which is why I think I could move to Insight. (MCTB states that access concentration is enough to start insight practice).
Great
AbdouAbed:
During my meditation this is what happens:

1. I start with some concentration practice using the breath as object and reach what I consider to be first Jhana and maybe second Jhana;
2. I shift to investigating the three characteristics still using the breath as object of investigation.
3. Sometimes the mind wanders and awareness of the breath resumes some time later.
4. Other times: "I" seems to be at the center of a wide space filled with body sensations including the sensations that make the breath. That space is extended further by another space filled with sounds, some close and some far.

In this second situation, the "I" seems to be aware of all this at the same time but some sensations would be at the foreground and others would be in the background.

I understand from MCTB that we can be aware of only one sensation at the time and that as soon as we become aware of that sensation, it is gone and something else is experienced. However this is intellectual knowledge while the above is my actual experience.
This is a fine starting point. All of experience blended together into one continuous unfolding. Start to notice what is the foreground. Speed it up.
AbdouAbed:
My question is: In order to progress, should I strive to focus only on the breath at the exclusion of everything else? Or is it OK to maintain this wide focus? Or keep the focus on whatever is at the foreground and let everything else be.

Thank you for the kind wishes.
MYJ
Correct - keep the focus on whatever is at the foreground and let everything else be.
If you notice that your mind is wandering you may wish to notice the foreground then label it with "seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking" then notice the next moment. If you are not wandering then you need not label.
Give it a shot for a while and see what happens.
Report back
~D
AbdouAbed, modified 6 Years ago at 6/18/16 9:39 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 6/18/16 8:42 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
Dream Walker :
Report back
~D


Thank you!
Sure enough will report back!
AbdouAbed, modified 5 Years ago at 7/6/16 6:04 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/6/16 6:04 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
Practice:
Objectify the subject until no subject remains...
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago at 7/6/16 11:58 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/6/16 11:58 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
AbdouAbed:
Practice:
Objectify the subject until no subject remains...
What is a subject? How are you objectifying it?
Could you describe how the sit goes?

Thanks,
~D
thumbnail
Ward Law, modified 5 Years ago at 7/16/16 11:01 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/16/16 11:01 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 123 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
Regarding #2: Culadasa calls this "peripheral awareness." It is not the same as mind wandering. He teaches that cultivating it is essential to advancing your meditation skill, and he defines "mindfulness" as the optimal balance of attention and awareness.
AbdouAbed, modified 5 Years ago at 7/31/16 5:24 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 7/31/16 5:24 PM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/15/16 Recent Posts
Reporting:
Exploring "Impermanence": Sit down; establish concentration; turn attention toward the field of sensation;
Focus on the most prominent sensation:
Using 'B' for body sensations and 'S' for sounds as an example, experience looks like this:
B, B, B, S, B, B, S, S, S, S, B, B, B, B, S, B...
Sometimes repeat the word 'impermanence'  as a reminder but most often the mind 'sees' impermanence directly: sensations arising and vanishing.
Sensations are experienced at a rate too fast to use 'verbal noting'
mental echo of sensations makes the illusion of continuity...
Whith increased concentration, experiencing becomes faster and faster...

Exploring 'no-self': Sit down; establish concentration; turn attention toward the field of sensation;
Focus on the most prominent sensation. See clearly that every sensation is seen by whatever should be considered our true self
Body is not self
Mind is not self
Awareness is self, but when it is turned upon itself, it becomes no-self. No real self can be found, nowhere.

Exploring 'unsatisafactoriness'. This shows clearly at the 'macro-level'
At the micro-level, splitting awareness eats at our energy and is unsatisfactory
Not splitting awareness is nice and smooth and satisfies... until one finds a subtler level of splitting.

----
Objectifying the subject until no subject remains is the goal.

Subject: that to whom all of this happens; that which observes
Object: sensate world (body, thought, sound...)
Objectifying the subject: seeing that it is experienced like everything else, hence it is an object

The reference point (subject) becomes dimmer and dimmer... until no subject remains
There remains no place to hide, everything is an 'object'... which is also incorrect
'Object' and 'subject' are the same... which is also incorrect

There are subtler and subtler object / subject dichotomies (finer granularity of reality)
turning attention 180 debrees and seeing that the 'seer' is also seen... this gives place to an infinite regress
of 'seen seers'... Which is not the answer.

Understanding that:
the subject or self may remain, but as its illusuory nature is seen through, it no longer fools us.
Ultimately, there is no need for getting rid of the subject
Objectifying the subject until no subject remains is not the goal.

Am I contradicting myself? Sure I am! Howerver this is how things look at this stage for me:
There is only 'Awareness', no subject and no object.
'Awareness' does not exist, as it cannot be experienced.
No foothold
No place to hide
An infinite regress of seers seen... which gives place to 'seeing' without 'seen' or 'seer'
A lot of confusion and at the same time a lot of clarity.
Hard to explain, plain to see... simply words that may or may not point in the 'right' direction.
shargrol, modified 5 Years ago at 8/1/16 5:58 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 8/1/16 5:58 AM

RE: MYJ: No teacher, Only reading (and some practice)

Posts: 1760 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Sounds very good. I think you have the right view. Practice will turn all of those thoughts into true, deep insights.

I'm very glad you are contradicting yourself. It's true that "subject sensations" might remain, but they are known to be not-self sensations like everything else. The practice is not "getting rid of the self" -- that simple and wrong view often causes people a lot of problems.  

Another thing you can explore is how Awareness does not take any effort. Mind and body are effortlessly known by awareness.

That means any struggle that shows up in awareness is worth looking at closely, there is probably some splitting  or ill will there that is eating at our energy. Take a step back and include that struggle/unsatisfactoriness/ill will... along with the sense of being a subject... try to see all of that at once and it might help un-split awareness.

You might try adding Metta practice, because it seems both calm the body/mind and make you sensitive to subtle struggles that remain.

May I be calm and at ease
May I be healthy, rested, and whole
May I be safe and free from danger
May I face the difficulties in my life, but may I avoid unnecessary problems
May I awaken
May I be free from suffering 
May I be happy.

Best wishes!

Breadcrumb