Teaching: Continuing from Asanga’s Shravakabhumi, Alan introduces the 4th thorough training by way of the 16 phases: 1) long breath, 2) short breath, 3) the whole body, 4) refining the bodily formation, 5) joy, 6) well-being, 7) formations of the mind, 8) wonderfully refining formations of the mind, 9) experiencing the mind, 10) bringing exceptional joy to the mind, 11) concentrating the mind, 12) liberating the mind, 13) impermanence, 14) eradication of obscurations, 15) freedom from attachment, 16) cessation of the aggregates.
Alan elaborates more on sukkha and joy which may arise from engaging in the practice.
Alan addresses the sudden enlightenment of the Buddha’s disciples.
Meditation: mindfulness of breathing per Asanga followed by mindfulness of phenomena (aggregates).
I) Mindfulness of breathing per Asanga. Know exactly when the out breath ends, how long the interim out breath is, when the in breath starts, when the in breath ends, how long the interim in breath is, and when the out breath starts.
II) Mindfulness of phenomena (aggregates). 1) recognize form as form (pure perception), 2) observe feelings as feelings arising in the body and mind, 3) with recognition, not that you are discerning, 4) direct attention to the mental formations in the space of the mind, 5) draw awareness to consciousness itself. Release awareness into all 6 sense fields and the events arising therein.
Q1. Does prana have the same quality in the in and out breaths?
Q2. Because body and brain decline with age, is age a factor to consider in achieving shamatha?
Q3. In Asanga’s mindfulness of breathing, I’m not sure what to do with the awareness of all 6 sense fields? It seems so busy.
Q4. In Asanga’s text, why is there so much emphasis on breathing?
Q5. In awareness of the body, there’s a sense of bliss. What insight is there to be derived from bliss pervading the body?
Q6. In Asanga’s text, these 16 phases which include shamatha and vipasyana may offer a bridge to Tibetan lamas who don’t seem to place much importance on practicing shamatha.
Q7. Asanga explains the causes of breathing as being propelling karma and space. Is this the cause for our involuntary breathing or is that caused by something biological?
Q8. Why are men more prominent in buddhism? Women multi-task better, so perhaps that’s a disadvantage to achieving shamatha?
Meditation starts at 20:53