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srivijaya
09 Jun 10, 11:04
What are your ideas concerning it?

Do we need it - is dry insight enough?

What should we do to achieve it?
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sukitlek
09 Jun 10, 15:08
There are atleast 3 kinds of enlightenments.
1. Samatha lead vipassana.
2. Vipassana lead samatha.
3. Both vipassana and samatha go together.

Jhana is a tool to develope samatha and vipassana, especially samatha.
The first kind of enlightenment do jhana atleast level 2 and use it for vipassana.
The second kind do vipassana but jhana arise not much.
The third kind like the second but jhana arise a lot more.

If we try jhana and found that we can not attend at least level 2. This mean, we should give a priority to vipassana. Anyway we still keep jhana.

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Esho
09 Jun 10, 16:36
is dry insight enough

Sorry Sriv, but what is "dry insight"?

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Aloka
09 Jun 10, 16:46
what is "dry insight"?

The opposite of wet insight ? ? http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/bunny.gif

Esho
09 Jun 10, 16:50
from post #4

Oh yes, it happens when I sweat during zazen...

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clw_uk
09 Jun 10, 19:09
Ajahn Sumedho teaches that the Jhanic states are natural when we are truly mindful



This morning I was talking to Venerable Subbato and he was saying he never has developed anapanasati, mindfulness of the breath. So I said, 'Can you be mindful of one inhalation?' And he said, 'Oh yes.' 'And of one exhalation?' And he said, 'Yes.' And I said, 'Got it!'

There's nothing more to it than that. However, one tends to expect to develop some special kind of ability to go into some special state. And because we don't do that, then we think we can't do it.

But the way of the spiritual life is through renunciation, relinquishment, letting go not through attaining or acquiring. Even the jhanas [1] are relinquishments rather than attainments. If we relinquish more and more, letting go more and more, then the jhanic states are natural.
http://www.pathandfruit.com/Articles/Ajahn_Sumedho_Only_One_Breath.htm (http://www.pathandfruit.com/Articles/Ajahn_Sumedho_Only_One_Breath.htm)



As far as I can see we practice morality in order to have a more "balanced" mind less caged by sensual infatuation etc. This then leads to easier development of mindfulness. This then leads to the abandoning of the hindrances, since during sati you dont hold or repel and to abandon something you dont get rid of it or hold it but just notice it then let it go.

Once the hindrances are abandoned then the Jhanic states arises naturally, since they are defined as arising when the hindrances are let go off. This then leads to more powerful concentration and apprehension of the way it is, namely anicca, dukkha and anatta which then leads to an understanding of the four noble truths, this insight then leads to dis-passion in regard to dhammas and then non-attachment, nibbana

In essence they are a natural outcome of the practice of letting go


thats my understanding anyway


metta

clw_uk
09 Jun 10, 19:21
"Monks, there are these five hindrances. Which five? Sensual desire as a hindrance, ill will as a hindrance, sloth & drowsiness as a hindrance, restlessness & anxiety as a hindrance, and uncertainty as a hindrance. These are the five hindrances.

"To abandon these five hindrances, one should develop the four frames of reference. Which four? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. To abandon the five hindrances, one should develop these four frames of reference."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.064.than.html

srivijaya
09 Jun 10, 21:45
Sorry Sriv, but what is "dry insight"?

Essentially a path which requires (if at all) only a minimal about of mental tranquility but is concerned primarily with vipassana.

srivijaya
09 Jun 10, 21:47
There are atleast 3 kinds of enlightenments.
1. Samatha lead vipassana.
2. Vipassana lead samatha.
3. Both vipassana and samatha go together.

Very interesting sukitlek. Thanks for that.

Esho
09 Jun 10, 21:49
from post #8

Thanks Sriv,

I am not a Jhana practitioner but I feel that a minimal amount of mental tranquility, a real one, is a great step toward more deep meditative stages or even to bring that minimal amount into daily life sounds realy encouraging.

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srivijaya
09 Jun 10, 21:49
Once the hindrances are abandoned then the Jhanic states arises naturally

Thanks clw. To what extent do you think the hindrances need to be first abandoned before Jhana may be pursued with any chance of success?

stuka
09 Jun 10, 23:28
from post #11

BUddhadasa Bhikkhu's book Anapanasati: Mindfulness With Breathing is an excellent source for the information you seek. It is available in .pdf form, though the last four chapters were lost by the original publisher and are missing. They can be obtained, though, in the Buddhadasa Yahoo! Group files section.

srivijaya
10 Jun 10, 12:42
Thanks stuka. I'll have to follow that up when I get the time. Do you follow these instructions?

srivijaya
11 Jun 10, 16:11
I am not a Jhana practitioner but I feel that a minimal amount of mental tranquility, a real one, is a great step toward more deep meditative stages or even to bring that minimal amount into daily life sounds realy encouraging.

I think that's the key thing Kaarine. Bringing that tranquillity into everyday life will slowly bring about a transformation in ourselves and the way we relate to others.
It's a kind of tension release and with it anger and so forth fall away.

In terms of meditation, tranquility is a step towards deeper meditative stages.
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srivijaya
11 Jun 10, 16:15
Anyone heard of the Jhana deep versus Jhana light debate?

Just thought I'd ask. Any opinions?

The leading exponent of the Jhana deep school is the ex-pat (virtually deified in OZ) Brit Ajahn Brahm.

Check out his take on the factors of all Jhanas (including the first)

The Five Senses are Fully Shut Off. Another strange quality that distinguishes Jhana from all other experiences is that within Jhana all the five senses are totally shut down. One cannot see, one cannot hear, one cannot smell, taste nor feel touch. One cannot hear the sound of the birds, nor a person coughing. Even if there were a thunderclap nearby, it wouldn't be heard in a Jhana. If someone tapped one on the shoulder, or picked one up and let one down, in Jhana one cannot know this. The mind in Jhana is so completely cut off from these five senses that they cannot break in.*

* Although sound can disturb the first Jhana, the fact is that when one perceives the sound, one is no longer in Jhana.
His famous anecdote:



A lay disciple once told me how he had "fluked" a deep Jhana while meditating at home. His wife thought he had died and sent for an ambulance. He was rushed to hospital in a wail of loud sirens. In the emergency room, there was no heartbeat registered on the E.C.G., nor brain activity to be seen by the E.E.G. So the doctor on put defibrillators on his chest to reactivate his heart. Even though he was being bounced up and down on the hospital bed through the force of the electric shocks, he didn't feel a thing! When he emerged from the Jhana in the emergency room, perfectly all right, he had no knowledge of how he had got there, nor of ambulances and sirens, nor of body-jerking defibrillators. All that long time that he was in Jhana, he was fully aware, but only of bliss. This is an example of what is meant by the five senses shutting down within the experience of Jhana.
Get the picture.




· SUMMARY OF THE LANDMARKS OF ALL JHANAS

It is helpful to know, then, that within a Jhana:

1. There is no possibility of thought;

2. No decision making process is available;

3. There is no perception of time;

4. Consciousness is non-dual, making comprehension inaccessible;

5. Yet one is very, very aware, but only of bliss that doesn't move; and

6. The five senses are fully shut off, and only the sixth sense, mind, is in operation.
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Ajahn_Brahm_The_Jhanas.htm

Now does this accord with the factors of Jhana, as listed in the suttas? Some say it doesn't. What do you guys think:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.111.than.html


"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.'
Doesn't look like the same thing Ajahn Brahm is describing. We see contact, feeling and perception listed in the sutta rather than a complete shut off of the five senses.

This total shut off is equated with the formless states, in particular with the "cessation of feeling & perception" as its name implies.

Thus Jhana Deep and Jhana Light.

Any thoughts?

Esho
11 Jun 10, 20:30
from post #14

Thanks Sriv for your kind feedback...

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sukitlek
12 Jun 10, 01:46
Thus Jhana Deep and Jhana Light

Yes.. Jhana light arise before total shut off. Somebody can not do total shutoff because they was not left their mind from five senses. For example anapanasati. If we go to some step and we were not left the breath, we could not pass that step. Or somebody move their mind to tour outside, also can not total shut off.

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clw_uk
12 Jun 10, 02:05
clw_uk #6:
Once the hindrances are abandoned then the Jhanic states arises naturally

Thanks clw. To what extent do you think the hindrances need to be first abandoned before Jhana may be pursued with any chance of success?

completely abandoned since they weaken awareness/concentration

Once abandoned the mind is no longer "clouded" and the jhana is the natural state that follows. In my opinion the biggest problem is mediators <u>wanting to attain jhanas.</u>

This is becasuse, based on my reading of suttas, teachings from Ajahns and experience, means they will never experience them** as the jhanas come through letting go not through gaining things or removing them but by abandoning them


To abandon you dont grap or avert but be fully mindful in the present moment and notice/observe, let it pass naturally




** Of course jhanas can happen by "accident". For example the buddha entering into a jhanic state when he was a child. This story is also noteworthy since it seems to say that the Buddha wasnt wanting jhanas, he just relaxed into full awareness and let the hindrances go, leading to jhana


metta

stuka
12 Jun 10, 03:24
from post #15

As usual, Brahmavamso is bullshitting his way through the parts of the Dhamma he doesn't understand.

Take a look at this gem, from the same book:

NIBBANA, THE END OF All PERCEPTION

For within the perception of neither perception nor no-perception lies the end of all perception, the cessation of all that is felt or perceived, Nibbana. If the mind attends to this, the mind stops. When the mind starts again one gains the attainment of Arahant or Anagami, these are the only possibilities.

So, according to Brahmavamso's definition here, all we need to attain Nibbana is a hefty dose of propofol or ketmine, or perhaps a bullet to the head. It's asinine.

Aloka
12 Jun 10, 04:44
I've had this book ' Mindfulness Bliss and Beyond ' for a while and I confess I still haven't read beyond the second chapter. I skimmed through some of the rest of the book and all its many descriptions of the jhanas, some of the details of which seem..well..unusual ...

...An example p.154 " A lay disciple once told me how completely by chance he had fallen into a deep jhana while meditating at home. His wife thought he had died and sent for an ambulance... etc etc" - sounded rather like my experience of a heavy morphine haze after returning to consciousness after an operation I once had.

I wondered also if he was subtly claiming a version of enlightenment himself to be quite honest.

srivijaya
12 Jun 10, 07:30
all we need to attain Nibbana is a hefty dose of propofol or ketmine, or perhaps a bullet to the head. It's asinine.

Absolutely, spot on. It's for this very reason that many dry insight people choose to reject Jhana and refer to the practice as a 'deep state of concentration' rather than as an 'abiding'.

IMHO this is what Buddha had already tried under his previous teachers before he recalled the Jhana he had experienced as a child. He hit on something very different and began to teach it.

I have also read warnings in Tibetan and Hindu sources about blanking out in this 'switch-off' meditation and the example he cites is really like being under heavy morphine.

srivijaya
12 Jun 10, 07:35
completely abandoned since they weaken awareness/concentration

Hi clw,
When you say completely abandoned, do you mean they never return or that the meditator is able to at least let them go for the duration of the meditation?

I've come across the idea which states one needs to be free of all taints before one can access Jhana. My objection has always been, if that were so, we wouldn't need Jhana or Buddhist practice any more. By definition, the path has to be for those who are still developing.


Once abandoned the mind is no longer "clouded" and the jhana is the natural state that follows. In my opinion the biggest problem is mediators wanting to attain jhanas.
Absolutely spot on there.

Namaste

srivijaya
12 Jun 10, 07:39
Yes.. Jhana light arise before total shut off. Somebody can not do total shutoff because they was not left their mind from five senses. For example anapanasati. If we go to some step and we were not left the breath, we could not pass that step. Or somebody move their mind to tour outside, also can not total shut off.

Thanks sukitlek,
I'm not sure whether you think that shutting off is a good thing or a bad thing?
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srivijaya
12 Jun 10, 07:40
I wondered also if he was subtly claiming a version of enlightenment himself to be quite honest.

I also have that feeling.

sukitlek
12 Jun 10, 14:17
shutting off is a good thing or a bad thing?

No good no bad, Not direct relate to vipassana. Like a exercise of mind.
If we could not when we are arahunt. We are a dry-visioned Arahant (Sukkhavipassaka) or liberation through wisdom (Pannàvimutti).
If we could, when we are arahunt. We are a jhana Arahant (jhanalabha) or deliverance of mind (Cetovimutti).

There are more detail of Cetovimutti but IMO we are not this type.

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Esho
12 Jun 10, 15:03
Once abandoned the mind is no longer "clouded" and the jhana is the natural state that follows. In my opinion the biggest problem is mediators wanting to attain jhanas.

A very important aspect to be considered Craig dear,

Just two cents...

I practice zazen. I am still not ready for shikantaza but I do not find fundamental differences between Jhanas and zazen. In some way, zazen are like Jhanas without wanting to attain Jhanas. We are not so worried about steps and levels...

If I misunderstood something, feedback is wellcome...

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clw_uk
12 Jun 10, 18:12
Hi clw,
When you say completely abandoned, do you mean they never return or that the meditator is able to at least let them go for the duration of the meditation?

I've come across the idea which states one needs to be free of all taints before one can access Jhana. My objection has always been, if that were so, we wouldn't need Jhana or Buddhist practice any more. By definition, the path has to be for those who are still developing.


They are only temporally abandoned, some say suppressed but i feel this conveys too much of the idea of averting and destroying them, which is craving for non-existence

This is why jhanas are only means to nibbana

If we were free from all taints then there would be nibbana


metta

mirco
13 Jun 10, 12:06
Doesn't look like the same thing Ajahn Brahm is describing. We see contact, feeling and perception listed in the sutta rather than a complete shut off of the five senses.

This total shut off is equated with the formless states, in particular with the "cessation of feeling & perception" as its name implies.


Hi,

I totally agree with that.

Collectedness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention goes up to the realm of nothingness.

In order to get known to the functioning of the hindrances you need to meet them. With that absorbtion concentration jhanas, you won't be able since your sense aren't working anymore. That is pre-buddhist brahman meditation. While you are in such an absorbed state, hindrances won't come up. That can be a pleasant abiding. But when you return, the hindrances return also and you have had no chance to learn how they work.

Have a look at this: http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/mn-111.htm

Metta, always,
Mirco http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif

srivijaya
14 Jun 10, 06:59
In order to get known to the functioning of the hindrances you need to meet them. With that absorbtion concentration jhanas, you won't be able since your sense aren't working anymore.

Absolutely correct. Well said micro.

srivijaya
14 Jun 10, 13:43
some say suppressed but i feel this conveys too much of the idea of averting and destroying them

Absolutely right clw. Aversion, itself, would create an environment which would hinder Jhana.

srivijaya
16 Jun 10, 08:44
So, now I'd like to get to the interesting bit, but first lets just have a very quick scan at the points we've discussed:

1. Jhana is a valid and very important method taught by the Buddha. Dry insight proponents may not be all that keen but it's there in sutta after sutta whether they like it or not.

2. It isn't a complete shutting down of all the senses and awareness. So we reject the fallacy of Jhana Deep.

3. You don't need to be a paragon of virtue to be able to practice these teachings - Buddha taught them as a means to help us.

4. Trying to suppress hinderances and craving Jhana are counterproductive.

That said, how do people here actually practice their meditation? Do they use the breath, Kasina http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasina or something else?

What experiences have you had and what pitfalls have you encountered?

I'm hoping to generate some real-life tips and discussion.http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/hands.gif

srivijaya
17 Jun 10, 13:30
I'm hoping to generate some real-life tips and discussion.
Assuming that there are other posters here who practice it that is. If not, do you do anything similar?

srivijaya
18 Jun 10, 08:36
Assuming that there are other posters here who practice it that is.
Well, never fear Sri - I do, so I'll get the ball rolling with some basic issues I faced when I started checking out the various instructions on anapanasati.

Firstly, I was unsure of quite how to deal with 'mindfulness of breathing'. This can be interpreted in many ways. Does one, for example, aim to pin ones awareness to a particular point; tip of the nose, somewhere in front of the chest or even follow the breath in and out? Does one count the breaths in any way?

I'd be interested to get feedback on things members have experimented with and the experiences they gained.

And how do we judge success? Is it a case of retaining the object for a certain length of time to the exclusion of everything else? Are thoughts suppressed in any way?

Any thoughts there?

Okay, you're sitting comfortably and closing (or not closing, which?) your eyes. You're wondering if you are hindrance-free enough to get anywhere with this and there's some kind of noise going on...

...or something like that! What do you do?

clw_uk
20 Jun 10, 15:26
Firstly, I was unsure of quite how to deal with 'mindfulness of breathing'. This can be interpreted in many ways. Does one, for example, aim to pin ones awareness to a particular point; tip of the nose, somewhere in front of the chest or even follow the breath in and out? Does one count the breaths in any way?


It doesnt matter where you focus attention, its the mind your working with so it can be done with focus on nose, chest or just breathing in general. Myself I find I just focus on the breath coming in and out and the various sensations around that. However this is the way that works best for me, others it could be just nose etc

Counting the breaths is just a device to help beginners concentrate on the breath. The main practice begins when one is just aware of breathing and begins to develop an uninterrupted stream of mindfulness. Problem with counting is that, while being good for beginners, is caught up in thinking about the breath instead of being mindful of the breath




I'd be interested to get feedback on things members have experimented with and the experiences they gained.

And how do we judge success? Is it a case of retaining the object for a certain length of time to the exclusion of everything else? Are thoughts suppressed in any way?


One insight that helped me develop my practice was that one doesnt use the mind to search for the breath to be aware of it. Instead one notices the breath arise in awareness and stays with that (kinda hard to put into words)


There is no "success" or "failure" in meditation since every experience helps teach you in some way. However I would say ones practice is developing well when one begins to be aware in the present moment more and more easily, just noting and observing dhammas rise and fall and when one gets to know and abandon the hindrances


metta

srivijaya
22 Jun 10, 09:44
Myself I find I just focus on the breath coming in and out and the various sensations around that.
Thanks for the reply clw. I do that too as it seems to work best.

You make a good point regarding being 'mindful' of the breath rather than 'thinking' about it.

One insight that helped me develop my practice was that one doesnt use the mind to search for the breath to be aware of it. Instead one notices the breath arise in awareness and stays with that (kinda hard to put into words)
I guess I know what you mean. In my case, it's a primarily physical event - aware of the breath's effect on the body as a whole. Not just focussed on one area.

Have you ever had experience with any kind of "Kasina"/ sign (I use that term very loosely)? I have found that the actual things themselves can induce release; a body of water, flames of a fire, bare soil and spacious skies. I have an unfounded pet theory that this is what Buddha meant, rather than a manufactured disk of some kind.

Namaste

Sobeh
22 Jun 10, 16:18
I have an unfounded pet theory that this is what Buddha meant, rather than a manufactured disk of some kind.

My own idea is that they are Hindu meditations bent to the purposes of the Dhamma. This is how I account for the fact that despite being canonical, these sorts of meditations are also noted in the Canon to be (in one way or another) less beneficial than anapanasati, having limits on their usefulness in samatha practice and being wholly unable to support a vipassana practice.

srivijaya
22 Jun 10, 20:18
My own idea is that they are Hindu meditations bent to the purposes of the Dhamma. This is how I account for the fact that despite being canonical, these sorts of meditations are also noted in the Canon to be (in one way or another) less beneficial than anapanasati, having limits on their usefulness in samatha practice and being wholly unable to support a vipassana practice.

Interesting Sobeh. Do you have links to any of that. I'm curious as to why they are less beneficial.

clw_uk
22 Jun 10, 21:17
Have you ever had experience with any kind of "Kasina"/ sign (I use that term very loosely)? I have found that the actual things themselves can induce release; a body of water, flames of a fire, bare soil and spacious skies. I have an unfounded pet theory that this is what Buddha meant, rather than a manufactured disk of some kind.

No I have never used them or experienced them in the way you describe. Generally I stick to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. I used to practice the four sublime states but have not done this for some time


metta

stuka
22 Jun 10, 23:29
Have you ever had experience with any kind of "Kasina"/ sign (I use that term very loosely)?

From that Henepola Gunaratana explains in MIPE, and I think this also concurs with what Buddhadasa writes in his analysis of the APS Sutta, this seems to be a mental impression or image that arises with the breath at a certain point. There is a point at which I get a mental impression of a violin bow being drawn against the string in concert with the sound and the feel of the breath, in and out, back and forth.


Here's what Gunaratana says in MIPE:

As you continue your practice your mind and body becomes so light that you may feel as if you are floating in the air or on water. You may even feel that your body is springing up into the sky. When the grossness of your in-and-out breathing has ceased, subtle in-and-out breathing arises. This very subtle breath is your objective focus of the mind. This is the sign of concentration. This first appearance of a sign-object will be replaced by more and more subtle sign-object. This subtlety of the sign can be compared to the sound of a bell. When a bell is struck with a big iron rod, you hear a gross sound at first. As the sound fades away, the sound becomes very subtle. Similarly the in-and-out breath appears at first as a gross sign. As you keep paying bare attention to it, this sign becomes very subtle. But the consciousness remains totally focused on the rims of the nostrils. Other meditation objects become clearer and clearer, as the sign develops. But the breath becomes subtler and subtler as the sign develops. Because of this subtlety, you may not notice the presence of your breath. Don't get disappointed thinking that you lost your breath or that nothing is happening to your meditation practice. Don't worry. Be mindful and determined to bring your feeling of breath back to the rims of your nostrils. This is the time you should practice more vigorously, balancing your energy, faith, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.

Sobeh
23 Jun 10, 00:27
Interesting Sobeh. Do you have links to any of that. I'm curious as to why they are less beneficial.

The main thrust of the idea comes from The Origin of Buddhist Meditation by Alexander Wynne. I had a .pdf of the book but I can't seem to find it - Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?id=TiZWJ1ob23EC&printsec=frontcover&dq=origin+of+buddhist+meditation+wynne&source=bl&ots=05gFDas2uD&sig=cop4xtaKaT8s1zcoFunAz1EJ_jM&hl=en&ei=gVQhTMv7JejvnQeolexm&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false) has enough to give you the gist. Check pages 26, 28+.

srivijaya
23 Jun 10, 09:11
There is a point at which I get a mental impression of a violin bow being drawn against the string in concert with the sound and the feel of the breath, in and out, back and forth.
Thanks stuka. That's a very vivid description and an interesting quote from Gunaratana.

Sobeh, I'll check out that book in due course.

I've always found the breath to be the best object. It's very natural.

For anyone reading this who is unsure what anapanasati is, it isn't like pranayama - a kind of controlled breathing exercise. It's a very gentle awareness. Nothing brutal or forced about it.