The Basic Method of Meditation by Ajahn Brahmavamso is a guide to getting started with meditation practice. Unlike many of the books here it. In these 4 lessons, we will use a basic method of meditation to enable us to let go in stages. These stages are called: Present- Moment Awareness, Silent-. I’ve read Ajahn Brahm’s “Basic Method of Meditation” as a booklet years ago and rediscovered it a few months back. I also bought a copy of his.
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Meditation is about letting go. Then we let it happen, little by little, bit by bit. In these 4 lessons, we will use a basic method of meditation to meditaton us to let go in stages.
These stages are called: The Burdens of the Past and the Future—. We do this by pactising the first stage of letting go: In Stage One we direct our attention to what is going on right now in the present moment. What ever is happening now is our only concern. What has happened ajshn the past, what might happen in the future are simply not our business at this time.
To the best we can, we pay attention only to what is coming in through the senses right now. For example, we may hear the sound of a bird, or feel the caress of the breeze, or the pressure of our seat. But again we must do so briefly so that we can move on to the next object that comes to meditaion senses.
Free ebook: Basic Method of Meditation by Ajahn Brahmavamso
For if we dwell on the bird, we will miss the next object to come in through the senses. The mind tends not to keep inner commentary simple and in the present moment. The idea is to be alert and in the present moment only. However that takes skill born of patient practice. Sometimes just being aware of the wandering is enough in itself for the mind to return to the present. At stage two, we drop the naming; we drop the labeling. At stage one, we were very close to being right in the present moment, but not exactly there.
We were just a little name or label away. We just know it. Of course that is now true of anything else that comes in through the senses.
If we feel the caress of the breeze, the pressure of our seat, we just know it, but silently. If the mind wanders, it may be enough, as in the previous stage, just to know that and to allow the mind to come back to the silent present moment.
However, if it keeps on wandering, then gently bring it back to Silent Present- Moment Awareness, just as a mother would take a little child by the hand who has wandered into an unsafe place and gently lead it back to hasic safe one. Be patient, be kind to your mind; this is a gentle practice. Again, remember the mind is not accustomed to being trained in this fashion.
Usually it goes pretty much where it feels like going ajshn thinks what ever it feels like thinking. A very common problem for most beginning meditators is trying to do the meditation, in other words to make it happen and to try to make it go too deep too fast.
But think about it. How can you do letting go? How can you make letting go happen? Instead a skilful meditator creates the conditions that allow letting go to happen, and at its own pace. Stages Within the Stages— a good way to help us slow down and to allow the meditation to just happen is to create stages within each of the stages of letting go.
For each stage in the Basic Method these sub-stages are always the same: And stay with it at least until you feel a sense of ease. Only then is the mind properly prepared to move on to meditatioh next stage. In the first lesson, we learned about the first two stages of letting go: We became aware of the present moment in all its diversity—sounds, bodily sensations, smells, etc.
The Basic Method of Meditation
Remember that skilful meditation is a gradual process. Think of each stage of meditation as being within the previous one. Also remember from the last lesson, that within each stage, there is a gradual deepening too. Within each stage there are the three sub-stages: In this lesson, briefly go through the first three stages of meditation: The purpose of this exercise is to give you the opportunity to recognize these three stages and know what they feel like.
However, when meditating on your own, take your good sweet time. In Stage three, we allow the mind to come to just one thing—the breath.
When breathing msthod, we know that we are metbod in. When breathing out, we know that we are breathing out. When the mind is settled and calm, watching the breath can be very pleasant; for the more sustained our attention on one thing, the more pleasant our meditation.
Instead, we have to create the conditions and then allow it to happen. Each builds upon the other. They provide the foundation for sustained attention on the breath.
In stage four, we experience silent present-moment awareness of just the breath. We are there in the present moment with the breath throughout the entire breathing cycle, from the very first moment of the in-breath to the very last moment of the out-breath.
We arrive at this stage by putting the time into our meditation practice, and by allowing letting go to happen. In other words, we have created the conditions that allow this refined form of meditation to happen, this natural deepening of our meditation.
And serious and diligent meditators have these to look forward to as their practice gradually deepens even more. Mindfulness— Mindfulness lies at the heart of skilful meditation. This stage is about awareness of diversity in the present and how to begin to go about developing that awareness. Mindfulness is told what to do, and to remember the instructions, and also to know when the instructions are not being followed. We need to put our letting go into the meditation itself. Slowly and its own pace we allow the mind to deepen and focus its attention as it moves from diversity to unity, from a busyness to the lovely stillness of a unified mind.
There are five basic hindrances to skilful meditation: If our meditation is not going well, then it will be because of one of these hindrances or a combination of them.
Once we recognise the problem, and know how to deal with it, our meditation can deepen and become more pleasant. Sensory Desire— Sensory desire refers to our interest even delight in the world of the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Mindfulness is so important here.
Once mindfulness recognises this hindrance, the proper response is simply to let go, little-by-little, of that part of the five sense world that has grabbed our attention. The most common reason is the obvious one. The most effective way for dealing with this type of sloth and torpor is to accept it, to make peace with it.
Sometimes, though, sloth and torpor is more like a subtle form of ill will. Investigate, when you become aware of this hindrance.
If ill will appears to be the real or underlying problemthen practice goodwill like we discussed above. Treat sloth and torpor for what they are: Restlessness and Remorse — In a general sense, restlessness is a sign of lack of contentment. Remember, everyone makes mistakes—big and small.
Try to adopt the attitude that there is nothing you have done, absolutely nothing that cannot be forgiven. It will soften your heart, and a soft and accepting heart makes for good meditation.
Strive to cultivate an unconditional acceptance of yourself. Whether we find joy or not depends on the way we train our perception. However, with time and practice we also can train ourselves to be content and to value our meditation.
If we instruct it ahead of time, mindfulness helps us remember contentment, and like most endeavours, the more we practise contentment, the better we get at it.
Doubt —Doubt comes in three categories, towards: Sometimes in meditation they can be combined. Here are some reflections that might help with doubt. Buddhist meditation has been around for over years! He has been meditatioon Buddhist Monk for over 30 years and is well known as an accomplished meditator, teacher and author. The teachings are sound, and his track record is well established! Finally we come to the big one—doubts about ourselves, about our ability to meditate.
This probably is the most common form of doubt that arises in the beginning meditator. Everyone practising these instructions is capable of meditating! Initially some people may show more aptitude than others, but in the long run, like most things in life, it is persistence that pays off in the end.
In this brief course, we have covered the basics of skilful meditation. In this final lesson, we examine some of the things we need to know to sustain our meditation practice over time.
There is a general rule: If we value and practise mindfulness in our daily life, we will find it easier to practise mindfulness when we meditate. And as our mindfulness strengthens in our meditation practice, mindfulness becomes easier in our daily life. Daily mindfulness and meditation mindfulness reinforce each other.