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Thread: Mindfulness

  1. #1
    Forums Member Traveller's Avatar
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    Is it better to try and cultivate concentration before attempting to be mindful?

    During meditation I often find that a distracting thought has passed by before I'm able to try and perceive it with a sense of detachment? I wondered if it was due to not having developed good concentration skills.

    Your answers, as always, are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Hi l_t,


    I'm not sure what sort of meditation method you're using - but I wonder if you might find this meditation instruction from Ajahn Sumedho helpful.

    http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/V...o:_Instruction

    with metta,

    Aloka-D

  3. #3
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonely_traveller View Post
    During meditation I often find that a distracting thought has passed by before I'm able to try and perceive it with a sense of detachment? I wondered if it was due to not having developed good concentration skills.
    hi LT

    what you are calling 'mindfulness' is more accurately called 'clear comprehension' (sampajanna)

    but to answer your question, "yes", it can be better to try and cultivate concentration before attempting to have clear comprehension and clear insight

    by reducing the thoughts in the mind by cultivating concentration, the mind will become more clear and be able to see more clearly

    then whatever thoughts do arise or occur, the clear mind can see them with detachment

    i suppose a metaphor can be used of studying the nature of water. if a scientist takes their microscope into the ocean to study water, they will be overwhelmed by the waves and currents. but if they take some drops of water into their laboratory, they can study the nature of water

    meditation is similar. by reducing the mind's thoughts, the mind can see thoughts more clearly

    kind regards

    element
    Last edited by Element; 26 Jun 11 at 21:03.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Traveller's Avatar
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    Element, thank you very much, I thought it worked that way, thank you for your advice, I now know where to focus for the time being.

    Aloka-D, I'm practicing Samatha based on Ajahn Jayasaro's videos on you tube with some advice also from Bhante Gunarayana's books, I also read a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh, even though his school is Vietnamese Zen I find a lot of his advice very useful. I'm also going to head to Leicester soon to go to the Vihara for the Dhamma study and meditation instruction. Thank you for the link, I'll peruse it shortly.

    Thank you both for your council, I really do appreciate it .
    Last edited by Traveller; 26 Jun 11 at 23:23.

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    it is always better to cultivate concentration at the beginning

    if ever we have been cultivating meditation for a long time in our past lives or in this life itself, then our mind get concentrated quickly and then we can go for mindfulness (insight) meditation

    to go for insight meditation, we need to know about Lord Buddha's Teaching (theory) so we need to read books or listen to Dhamma talks based on suttas ( Lord Buddha's Teaching) before hand


    we should know what it means, five aggregates, dependent origination, six sense bases, six elements ect.

    we do not need to know everything, but at least about one or above, then we will know each and everything are inter-related or everything comes to the same END the Enlightenment Nature and Dhamma

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by lonely_traveller View Post
    Aloka-D, I'm practicing Samatha based on Ajahn Jayasaro's videos on you tube with some advice also from Bhante Gunarana's books, I also read a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh, even though his school is Vietnamese Zen I find a lot of his advice very useful. I'm also going to head to Leicester soon to go to the Vihara for the Dhamma study and meditation instruction. .
    Sounds good. Let us know how you get on at the Vihara !

  7. #7
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonely_traveller View Post
    Is it better to try and cultivate concentration before attempting to be mindful?
    I, too, practice Samatha meditation. It is also known as calm abiding meditation and it needs to be mastered before going on to Vipassana meditation (insight meditation).

    Meditation teachers have told me that mindfulness and concentration need to be present together, to practice Samatha meditation.

    WS.

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    Forums Member Keith A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonely_traveller View Post
    Is it better to try and cultivate concentration before attempting to be mindful?

    During meditation I often find that a distracting thought has passed by before I'm able to try and perceive it with a sense of detachment? I wondered if it was due to not having developed good concentration skills.

    Your answers, as always, are appreciated.
    Hi L-P,
    While the Buddha didn't teach this, it is common for new students in some forms of Buddhism to given the practice of counting the breaths, precisely for the reason you suggested. Counting breaths will without question help develop concentration and is a common practice in Zen Buddhism. FWIW.

    Good luck and thanks for practicing,
    Keith

  9. #9
    Forums Member Traveller's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies and advice folks.

    Been a bit slack on my practice lately due to a few personal problems but I intend to rectify that. Time to get my behind in the cushion, this enlightenment business won't sort itself out.

    One thing I wonder about is that I can still count the breaths even when I am distracted by thoughts and as Ajahn Jayasaro says it feels natural to give up counting.

    I wonder if counting while I'm thinking about something else is correct.

  10. #10
    Forums Member Keith A's Avatar
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    The Zen answer would be to just count. I am always amazed how I can think about all sorts of things while chanting. Regardless of tradition, all meditation has at it's core "notice and return". Notice you are not paying attention and Return to paying attention. Not sure I would get to wrapped in the shoulda's and supposed to's. What you are doing is very important. Thank you.

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