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Concentration

How can I practice Samatha Meditation?

How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/8/16 10:13 PM
Hi there I was wondering if somone can give me a guide on how to practice Samatha (concentration) meditation?
I would like to learn samatha in order to strengthen my insight practice if you guys can give me an indepth guide on samatha that would be muchly appreciated.
Much respect and kind regards thanks in advance.

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/8/16 11:52 PM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
Ian And's All Purpose Jhana Thread:
http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1191517

Shinzen's chapter on Samatha starts on page 35:
http://www.shinzen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FiveWaystoKnowYourself_ver1.6.pdf

Leigh Brasington's Instructions for Entering Jhana:
http://www.leighb.com/jhana3.htm

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/9/16 11:12 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Thanks guys also is there any more or additional resources that could teach me samatha?

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/9/16 11:35 PM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
Both Culadasa's The Mind Illuminated and  Sakyong Mipham's Turning the Mind Into An Ally are modern interpretations of Asangas 9 Stages of Samatha development.  Leigh Brasington has a book called Right Concentration.

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 8:35 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I'll also add that one of the best ways to stabilize samatha is to practice vipassina. I know it sounds paradoxical, but really the two work together like breathing consists of an inhale and exhale and like working out requires both exercise and rest. So you might want to try both mindfulness of breathing sensations as well as noting practice. Experiment, see what works for you, and make your practice your own. 

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 12:08 PM as a reply to shargrol.
So far here is my practice

Sit 
Breath in then pause for 6 seconds
Focusing on sound of the breath
Breath out then pause for 6 seconds
If thoughts arise I label/note it with mental word "thought"

Is this samara practice? Should the breath be controlled?

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 12:49 PM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
Sounds good, but I would recommend letting the body breathe itself. Feel the sensation of breathing, hearing the sounds of breathing (there may be no sounds if the breath is natural), and noting/label thoughts to help maintain mindfulness. It's very simple. The hardest thing is to just let it be simple.

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 3:07 PM as a reply to shargrol.
that clears it up soo much thankyou shargol! by the way when you say "let the body breath itself" do you mean let the breath be natural and not force the pause in between the inhalations and exhalations?

so no pauses in between breaths?

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 5:01 PM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
Make sure you understand what you are getting into. Meditation can help heal you, but it can also re-awake old traumas. It's important to have people that can support you in your practice. Do you have that? If not, don't start until you do. It's much better to have a good foundation for practice before beginning.


Re: breath:

If you want to get very specific, it's okay to slightly over inhale, slightly pause, and slightly over exhale in the beginning, just to get established. Maybe five or six breaths that way, letting the body feel full, calm, refreshed. Then just let the body breathe.

If you are paying attention, you'll see that the breath changes each time. It's not like a clock ticking. It's more like waves washing up on the beach, sort of a pattern, but also sort of random. Stay curious about how the current breath feels, stay interested in what the next breath will be.

The calmer you get, the more thoughts will pop up. That's normal. Just note what kind of thoughts you are having: "practicing thoughts", "curiosity thoughts", "boredom thoughts", "wanting to quit thoughts", "clarity thoughts", "calm thoughts", "busy thoughts", "hoping thoughts", "happy thoughts", "worrying thoughts", "comparing thoughts", "self-judgement thoughts" etc etc etc

The journey involves learning to be with your thoughts and be with your body. There will be moments of resistance and moments of calm.

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 6:00 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargol thankyou soo much for your reply, I am soo glad you brought up that point about past traumas arising. I did do some research into the subject how meditation can induce psychosis and other nasty things if somone goes down the wrong path in meditation. I am prepared and ready to confront traumas and my self as I dive deeper and deeper. I was told not get too attached to false experiences. I was wondering if you have any advice on the mindset somone would need in order to go down the right path in meditation vs the wrong path that leads to psychosis or breakdowns from reality?

edit also I do not have a support structure like a teacher or mentor I just meditate. But I feel like I am not meditating for the right reasons or my mindset is not correct and I am kinda scared of going down the wrong path. How can I find the right path? Or is there no right or wrong path and that these traumas that arises is somewhat of a challenge to yourself to overcome in order to gain insight?

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 6:19 PM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
I would say trust your intuition and stop meditating until your intentions are right and your mindset is correct.  Instead, use your time to investigate things further. There is no need to rush into practice. There is a saying that is very true: "well begun is half done."

Read about different meditation methods. Visit different teachers. Have Skype conversations with other meditators.

Read about cults and how to recognize and avoid them (for example the book "Them and Us" by Deikman). Whenever some one is offering "a dream come true" -- watch out! 

Read about basic psychology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanisms) and adult development (http://www.cook-greuter.com especally "Nine Levels Of Increasing Embrace In Ego Development")

Focus on building a strong foundation of physical health, education, good employment, and friendships.


Honestly, a good foundation will make you go further, faster, with less suffering. 


see also: 
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5878991

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 7:45 PM as a reply to shargrol.
This quote popped up for me:

"The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over.  Thus the wise say the path to salvation is hard." - W.S. Maugham via The Upanishads

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/10/16 9:08 AM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
kerg kerg kerg:
Thanks guys also is there any more or additional resources that could teach me samatha?
Otherwords you want to find a definition what would make sense to you, rubbing you the right way. Here is the thing that you will abandon it as soon you will see it through what it is. The initial "oh now i get it how i need to practice" is like an erection. Insights are also erections but you need them to happen and here comes out that the what causes you an erection doesn't matter at all as long you get erection with whatever way.

In desireworld stay clean of desires so you could cultivate craving. You will get carried by cravings till there is a crossover both ways.
It prolly hard to get it but when you don't cultivate you are like a dog who hunt, you may yell but dog doesn't listen to you anymore. So the crossover can be for you that you won't understand what sober intelligence tells you but when you are sober then you know yourself better but that is the same thing but opposite way. Anyway you will see both sides of a coin with your own skin no matter of what.

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/9/16 5:17 AM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
‘Samatha is a meditative study of all is void. Before that you need remove false mind. Samatha purpose is to reveal substance for samadhi. But to do it you need remove also false seeing.
False thinking rises from external objects.

Some headlines from "The Surangama Sutra"

*Probe into the false mind
*Thinking is unreal
*The sixth consciousness is empty
*The seventh consciousness is unreal

From commentary:
ânanda used to rely on his Sixth Consciousness, that is his clinging mind which he mistook for his
True Mind. As he was scolded by the Buddha (for self-conceit), he was completely bewildered and
thought that if he had no mind, he would be like earth or a log. The Buddha, out of compassion for
the whole assembly, taught them how to develop non-creating mind; He extended His hand to touch
ânanda’s head to reassure him and to wipe out his perplexity, saying: ‘Why do you think that you
are without a mind and are like a lifeless thing? I have always said that all phenomena are manifestations
of the mind and that all worldly causes and effects, either direct or indirect, take shape because
of the mind. This is True Mind; why do not you waken to it? All phenomena in the world, as well as
the smallest things, are (made of) matter and have qualities, and even the empty void has its name
and appearance; then how can the wondrous pure and clean Bright Mind which is the underlying
nature of all mental states, have no substance? Instead of understanding the substance of True Mind,
you grasp firmly at your false thinking that discriminates (aimlessly) about True Mind; is this not inversion?
If it was True Mind, it should have a nature of its own even after all sense data have ceased to
exist. Since it is no more when there are no sense data, is it not false? As you listen to my sermon on
the Dharma, you differentiate solely because of my voice, but when I stop speaking, this mind of
yours will cease to exist. This is the differentiating mind which arises when you hear my causal voice;
this is your (discriminating) Sixth Consciousness which vanishes when sense data disappear.’ This
wiped out the third aggregate, sa¤j¤à, to expose the unreality of the Sixth Consciousness.
In the list paragraph of the text, the unreality of the Seventh Consciousness is exposed. It is
not only the discriminating Sixth Consciousness which is false but ‘If you put an end to all seeing,
hearing, feeling and knowing to stop using all six senses and so preserve your inner quiet, there is
still the shadow of (your) differentiation of things.’ This is the Seventh Consciousness which grasps
at the innermost self as an ego and which is the organ of the Sixth Consciousness; it is precisely the
root of birth and death, so ‘How can you hold it as Reality?’ The Buddha was about to expose the
falseness of the fourth aggregate, saüskàra, and so wipe out the Seventh Consciousness, so He
said: ‘I do not want you to hold that it is not mind; what I want you to know is that false thinking is
not True Mind; you should examine carefully and minutely this: that which has its independent
substance when sense data cease to exist is your True Mind, but that which vanishes with sense
data is (simply) non-existent, like the hair of a tortoise and the horns of a hare, in which case your
Dharmakàya should also be subject to destruction, and if so, who will practise and realize the
patient endurance of the Uncreate?’

RE: How can I practice Samatha Meditation?
Answer
10/11/16 10:23 AM as a reply to kerg kerg kerg.
I second Noah's recommendation of The Mind Illuminated: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0990847705