http://www.UrbanDharma.org ...Buddhism for Urban America


The Urban Dharma Newsletter... May 20, 2003


In This Issue:

3. Anapanasati, Samatha or Vipassana Meditation
4. Tranquility and Insight Meditation
5. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week: The Integral Institute
6. Book Review: A Theory of Everything:
An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality
...Ken Wilber
7. Peace Quote...


2. DANA - Generosity

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3. Anapanasati, Samatha or Vipassana Meditation
...Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Center

* http://store.7p.com/chanmyay/dhammatalks/asvmeditation.htm

Anapanasati, respiration meditation is mentioned in the Visuddhimagga as Samatha Meditation. In the Visuddhimagga there are 40 subjects of Samatha Meditation. They are 10 Kasina, 10 Asubha, 10 Anussati, 4 Brahma Vihara, 4 Formless Spheres, Perception of the Loathsomeness of Food and Analysis of the Four Elements. Anapanasati is one of them.

Kasina means entirely or whole. In other words, when a Kasina is an object of meditation you have to focus the whole circle of Kasina in your mind; but with the eyes initially. One can use these Kasina as an object of Samatha Meditation; pavathi kasina, earth; apo kasina, water; tejo kasina, fire; vayo kasina, wind or air; aloka kasina, light; lohita kasina, red; nila kasina, blue; pita kasina, yellow; odata kasina, white; akasa kasina, space. There are also 10 Asubha: meditation on impurity; meditation on swollen corpse, discoloured corpse, dismembered corpse, skeleton and so on. Then there are 10 kinds of recollecting meditation. We call it Anussati. The objects are: Buddhanussati, recollection of the attributes of the Buddha; Dhammanussati, recollection of the attributes of the Dhamma; Sanghanussati, recollections of the attributes of the Sangha; Silanussati, recollection of the attributes of the precepts you are observing; Caganussati, recollection of the attributes and benefits of charity or offering you have done; Devatanussati, recollection of heavenly beings; Maranasati, mindfulness of death; Kayagatasati, mindfulness of the body; Anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing; and Upasamanussati, recollection of peace.

Hence Anapanasati, recollection or mindfulness of breathing is one of the 10 recollections meditations, Anussati. According to Visuddhimagga, we take Anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing to be a Samatha Meditation. But in the Maha Satipatthana Sutta, the Discourse on the Four Foundations of the Mindfulness, Anapanasati is mentioned as an object of Vipassana Meditation also. The Maha Satipatthana Sutta begins with Anapanasati as the object of Vipassana Meditation. So some scholars get puzzled about this meditation, whether it is Samatha or Vipassana Meditation because in Visuddhimagga it is mentioned as Samatha and Maha Satipatthana Sutta mentioned it as Vipassana. In Maha Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha teaches us how to practise Anapanasati, mindfulness of respiration. He mentioned how a meditator sees the appearance and disappearance of the respiration and realize impermanence of respiration. So it is mentioned in Maha Satipatthana Sutta as Vipassana.

What we should know is that the object of Samatha Meditation can either be pannatti or paramattha. Pannatti means concept, paramattha means absolute or ultimate reality. The object of Samatha Meditation may be concept or ultimate reality. When we take Kasina as the object of Samatha Meditation, the object is just concept, not absolute reality. How?

Say if we make a red kasina as the object of Kasina Meditation, then you have to draw a red circle about the size of a plate on a wall or tree, about two feet from the floor so that your eyes can look at it easily. That red must be pure red without mixing with any colour. When you focus your mind on the red circle, you have to focus on the whole red circle, not half or quarter of the circle. So it is called Kasina. Why? Because you want to concentrate your mind on the form of the circle. You need not know the red, the colour. You need not know the texture. What you should do is to concentrate on the form of the circle very well, very deeply. You have to look at the whole circle and focus your mind on it.

Then when your concentration is good enough, though you close your eyes you could see that red circle in your mind, that is the form of the circle. You concentrate on that red circle you see in your mind. That circle you see in your mind is called Patibhaga Nimitta. It means the nimitta which is similar to the circle on the wall. Some scholars translate it as counterpart sign. The meditation is Samatha Meditation, so you need not realize any physical or material processes of the circle. What you need is to concentrate your mind on the whole circle and absorb the mind in it. That is why you see the red circle in your mind when your concentration is good enough. The red circle is a form, it's just a concept. The form is just concept, not ultimate reality. The circle you see in your mind is not absolute reality. It's just the thing which is created by your mind; so it's just a concept. In this case the object of Samatha Meditation is just concept, not ultimate reality.

When you practise Buddhanussati, it is recollection of the chief attributes of the Buddha such as Araham, Sammasambuddho, Vijjacarana sampanno, Sugato, Lokavidu, Anuttaro purisa damma sarathi, Sattha deva manussanam, Buddho, Bhavaga. Here the object is reality, paramattha. Say you reflect on the attribute, 'Araham'. It means the Buddha is worthy of honour because he has totally destroyed all mental defilements. So to destroy these mental defilements he has the fourth stage of enlightenment, Arahatta Magga and Sabbannuta, that is Omniscience. Then you have to concentrate on those qualities of the Buddha which destroy all mental defilements. These qualities are enlightenment and omniscience; so they are absolute reality, not concept. If you repeatedly concentrate on these attributes, whenever the mind goes out you bring it back and reflect on these attributes. Then gradually you get concentrated. In this case, absolute reality, paramattha is the object of Samatha Meditation.

However in Vipassana Meditation every object of meditation must be absolute reality, ultimate reality, paramattha. In Vipassana Meditation no concept can be the object of meditation. Concept cannot be the object of Vipassana Meditation because Vipassana meditators need to realize the specific characteristics and general characteristics of mental and physical phenomena which is absolute reality. So the object must be either mental or physical processes which are ultimate reality. If concept is the object of Vipassana Meditation, Vipassana meditators can't realize any characteristics of mental and physical processes because you can't find any real characteristics in concepts. Concepts are made up by the mind.

Say your name is Pannananda. Though you have died, if I memorize your name in my mind as Pannananda, the name is there in my mind. (Actually Pannananda has gone.) Why? Because my mind memorizes it, creates it to exist. It means name is just a concept because it is created, memorized or made up by the mind. So every concept is not reality. They are things which are made up by the mind. So they don't have any characteristic to realize.

Then if the red circle is the object of meditation, we see the form of the circle in our mind and concentrate on it. Gradually our mind becomes more and more concentrated on the red circle we see in our mind. When the mind is totally absorbed in that circle, then we say we have attained Jhana. But you see that red circle is not reality but the mind makes the object; so it's just concept. It hasn't any characteristics to realize. Even though you concentrate your mind on it for say one hundred years continuously, you can't realize any characteristics; because it is not an absolute reality, it's a mind-made thing. Just concept.

Then as to respiration meditation (Anapanasati), in Visuddhimagga it is mentioned as Samatha Meditation, Concentration Meditation. In Maha Satipatthana Sutta it is mentioned as Vipassana Meditation. Then how can we distinguish it between the Vipassana aspect of respiration and the Samatha aspect of respiration? If we are mindful of the absolute reality of respiration, that will be Vipassana Meditation. If we are mindful of the concept regarding respiration, then it will be Samatha Meditation.

So in Visuddhimagga it mentions the method of concentration on the touching sensation whenever you breathe in and breathe out. When you concentrate your mind on the coming in and going out of the breath, then it is Samatha Meditation because you have to concentrate on the coming in and going out, not on the wind or air. When it is coming in your note 'in'; when it is going out you note, 'out'. 'In, out, in, out'. Your mind is not on the breathing air but on the 'coming-in' and the 'going-out'. 'Coming-in' and 'going-out' is not ultimate reality.

Say you come into the room through the door and go out of the room through the door. What is (this) coming in and going out, we may ask the question? It's neither you, not a person. It's just 'coming in' and 'going out'. It's just concept. In the same way when you concentrate your mind on the coming in and going out of the breath, it's just a concept. So the concept is the object of meditation in this case. So it's Samatha Meditation. You can't realize any specific characteristics or general characteristics of coming-in and going-out because it's not reality. It's just concept, so that's Samatha Meditation. 

But when you focus your mind on the touching point at the nostril whenever your breath comes in or goes out, it touches the nostrils. When you observe this touching sensation and be mindful of it, then it's (ultimate) reality. That touching point is composed of the four primary material elements. Here Pathavi dhatu: hard and soft: here Apo dhatu: liquidity, cohesion; here Tejo dhatu: hot or cold; here Vayo dhatu: movement, motion. These four elements are there whenever you focus your mind on the touching sensation. So the object is absolute reality, what can we call it, Samatha or Vipassana Meditation? Vipassana Meditation.

That is what the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw wrote about between the Samatha aspect and Vipassana aspect of respiration. I appreciate it very much. So then we can say respiration meditation is Vipassana Meditation in accordance with Maha Satipatthana Sutta. And we can say respiration is Samatha Meditation in accordance with Visuddhimagga. Too subtle and too deep to differentiate between the two aspects of respiration meditation. I think those who have practised meditation very well can differentiate between these two aspects.

Sometimes we have to concentrate on the coming in and going out of the breath as the object of meditation when the mind is too distracted; when we have a lot of thoughts. The Buddha said that when you have a lot of distractions and lots of thoughts, you should practise respiration meditation as the Samatha Meditation because respiration or breathing is, so to say, ever present so long as you are alive. So it's easy for you to concentrate on it. That's why the Buddha teaches us to practise the respiration meditation as Samatha Meditation when there are many thoughts.

But through my experience, Buddhanusati and Metta Meditations are the best ones for my meditators to concentrate on when they have a lot of thoughts. So I teach them either Buddhanusati or Metta Bhavana. Buddhanusati is somewhat difficult for those who have no knowledge of the Buddha's attributes. Metta Meditation is very easy; every meditator can do it. When they can concentrate by Metta, their mind becomes calm and tranquil. Then very easily they can switch to Vipassana Meditation.

That's how you can differentiate between the two aspects of respiration meditation. May all of you be able to differentiate between the two aspects of respiration meditation and practise your meditation accordingly and achieve the goal.

4. Tranquility and Insight Meditation
...by His Eminence Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche

* http://www.simhas.org/teaching33.html


This teaching concerns the two main stages of meditation: (1) Shiney; tranquility meditation which develops concentration, and (2) Lhatong; the meditation which develops supreme insight.

We must first engender precious Bodhicitta before listening to this dharma teaching. Bodhicitta is the motivation to achieve enlightenment so that one can benefit all sentient beings.

The Basis and View to be developed before Meditation

Before beginning and progressing through the stages of meditation, one must maintain good ethics and steadfast discipline. A practitioner should listen to, study, contemplate and put into practice the authentic dharma teachings. It is with good discipline as the foundation that a practitioner can achieve the fruit of meditation practice. Without pure discipline and without properly studying the dharma, the practitioner cannot reach the fruition of meditation. Without pure discipline, one is missing the most important foundation of the dharma path.

A practitioner should likewise contemplate that Samsara, our worldly state of confusion, is conditioned existence. Samsara arises due to the coming together of causes and conditions. In order to attain enlightenment, one must be unattached to worldly existence and not chase after worldly desires; a practitioner should break away from samsaric confusion.

If one practices in this way, enlightenment is possible!

To develop real understanding about the delusive state of samsara, the practitioner should deeply reflect upon the impermanence of all phenomena. Also, one should develop a deep understanding about the suffering which sentient beings endure.

In samsara, no happiness we experience is ever-lasting and forever real. As they say, whatever goes up must come down! Whether it be our body which was created by our parents or a tree which grows from a seed in the ground, all appearances will "come down" and dissolve. All appearances will end at some point. Every moment, every step we take, we get closer and close to this ending point.

Now, due to people's perception about death, some become frustrated with this impermanence topic. They confront death with a frightened and terrified attitude. But, it is senseless to be so paranoid and so attached to the physical body.

People are so concerned about their age and youthfulness. They develop a tragic attachment that is so strong; they are blinded by it. We must not fail to recognize that we are dying every moment.

From the moment of birth until death, each moment we die little by little; it is a long process. The elements and conditions which make up our body become less and less vital throughout our life. At the time of death, they diminish totally.

Since this process is happening all the time, why are we so attached and worried over it? Unfortunately some individuals die from a gradual painful illness, or from a sudden malady such as heart attack. Even though there is suffering involved with these illness, it is the natural potential of the body to become ill. As long as there is a body, the potential is there. Take, for example, a vase with four living snakes inside of it. Usually the snakes sleep, but when it gets warm the snakes wake up and begin moving or fighting, shaking the vase back and forth.

Our body works in the same manner. We have the elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. As long as they are in harmony, one does not have illness. But, the potential danger to become ill is always there. It is only a question of time until the illness breaks out. Through this understanding a practitioner can lessen attachment to the body and worldly existence.

Unable to recognize the above truths, those who wander in samsara's confusion are distracted and afflicted by the experiences that their senses take in. They search for delicious tastes, pleasant sounds, good feelings, and so forth. But in reality these "sense-pleasures" have no sense and meaning!

A dharma practitioner must understand that the desire for worldly happiness leads only to distraction and further conditioned existence. For example, someone who is sentenced to death cannot enjoy the delicious food offered a day before the execution. This is because he is aware that death is imminent.

Dharma practitioners do not want to become discouraged or feel worthless in this sort of manner! But, like the man to be executed, practitioners should see that death can happen. We must understand that constantly being attached to everything does not result in happiness being prolonged.

One can never satisfy the mind through using the five senses; the very opposite is the case! The more one feeds the senses, the more one wants! The more energy one puts into satisfying the mind, the more is needed to maintain that happiness. If you eat delicious food today, you will want delicious food tomorrow; otherwise one is not satisfied.

Feeding into our senses and desires (in order to achieve happiness) is like going to a phony doctor. This doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong illness and then treats him or her with the wrong medicine. The more medicine taken, the more sick and ill the patient becomes.

This is the same result with searching for happiness through sensual pleasures.

The mind only becomes more and more unsatisfied by craving for things which appear beautiful or pleasing. A practitioner can prevent this by using a remedy called "closing the sense doors." This means one does not chase after, or run away from, appearances. Through practicing in this way, a peaceful state of mind will be achieved.

Maintaining good discipline while guarding our sense doors is also a necessary part of our practice. One should not engage in negative behavior, because it is negative behavior which is used to satisfy our sense desires.

After gradually reducing fixation and our uncontrolled senses, we can then begin to learn and practice the path of enlightenment.

A practitioner then respectfully attends dharma teachings and becomes aware that existence has suffering. By analyzing these teachings, genuine trust can develop. Now a practitioner must integrate what has been learned into daily life and meditation.

The Buddha said that a practitioner should not just “believe” in his teachings, especially not blindly. He told us to analyze, develop trust in, and then put into practice his teachings. With such genuine trust, one can practice meditation and learn about the different methods used during meditation.

The Mind in Meditation

Meditation is mental activity and contemplation. We work with the mind because it is the basis for all of samsara and nirvana. Whatever appears, it is the mind's own activity.

Appearances which are supposedly outside of the mind itself are truly not different from the mind; it is the mind which perceives and classifies phenomena. According to the Mahayana, no phenomena which arises is ultimately “outside” of the mind's perception.

The Buddha taught that ignorance causes conditioned existence (our existence, which is condition by karma and other factors). From the mind’s ignorance arises the Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination. This causes us to experience samsara.

Ignorance is when the perceiver believes that the objects he or she sees are ultimately independent of the mind’s experience. Therefore, the perceiver is attached to external objects, believing their existence to be separate from the mind’s own individualized perception. This tendency, and attachment to external phenomena, keeps growing stronger everyday. It has been growing this way since beginningless time.

Only if there is a perceiver can form be seen and sounds be heard. Through this understanding we know that everything comes from the mind’s own perception and experience.

There must be an awareness, a mind, to perceive objects. For example, if there is a blue object in a room and everyone gathered in that room is talking about it, the perception and awareness must exist. Otherwise, there is no blue object and no one to talk about it with.

Suffering also exists only due to the condition of this perception. If there is something causing suffering and someone to perceive it, then the suffering exists. If there is nothing which can perceive the suffering, then the suffering is considered not there, not existing by perception.

Nothing can be experienced outside of the mind’s awareness.

As described in the Buddha's teachings, the true nature of the mind is beyond relative words and extremes, it is beyond existence and nonexistence. The mind has no form and no color. There are different terms for this true nature (such as Buddhanature, Dharmadhatu, Tathagatagarbha), yet they all refer to the essence of the mind.

The nature of the mind is beyond words, it is different from common awareness or consciousness which experiences samsara. The great master Saraha of India said that the mind's nature is beyond words, just like vast space is beyond conceptual understanding. No matter how long one thinks about it, no solid conclusion will be there. The mind's nature must be realized, it cannot just be talked about.

With this view about the mind as the basis, the practitioner can meditate and samadhi (state of deep concentration) will arise. By entering into samadhi, a practitioner will directly see that all experiences manifest directly from the mind and are illusory in nature.

Pre-Conditions to Meditation

Two major conditions are needed before one learns to practice Shiney and Lhatong meditation. First, the practitioner should study the dharma and know where authentic teachings are given. Second, the practitioner must meditate where one is not distracted; having enough food, being healthy, not being around people and objects who one has strong attachment too, are all necessary conditions so that distraction does not arise.

Once these conditions are fulfilled and distraction is not there, the practitioner must know what obstacles, or veils, arise while meditating. One should know these emotional tendencies during meditation before they arise and hinder practice.

These veils are in general are (1) Agitation and distraction of the mind with many thoughts. The mind is stirred up and follows after these thoughts, thinking about them, such as what is beautiful and what is not. (2) Regret and doubt arises when the practitioner starts to contemplate about what happened in the past, letting the mind wander. (3) Heaviness of the mind causes meditation experience to be unclear. The true nature of the mind cannot be seen and one cannot even concentrate one-pointedly. (4) Dullness of the mind is when one foolishly cannot even go into or stay in meditation.

The practitioner should gradually learn what are the causes for these veils to arise, and how to get rid of them. For example, the mind gets stirred up due to thinking about beautiful forms, good food, friends, desires and other objects. One gets distracted sometimes by eating too much or too little, or due to sleeping a lot or not sleeping enough. Mental tendencies of dullness or agitation arise due to food and sleep conditions. The mind can become unclear and dull if our stomach is full of food, or agitated if we do not eat.

Combining Shiney and Lhatong

Although there are many different methods of meditation, all are contained within Shiney (Tranquility) and Lhatong (Supreme Insight) meditations.

Shiney meditation is when one develops one-pointed concentration. The mind becomes calm and still. Lhatong meditation is when the practitioner sees the nature of the mind.

The practitioner can only see clearly the mind’s nature only if Shiney and Lhatong meditation are practiced together. This way, recognizing the mind’s true nature is like a bright flame which does not move.

When the flame does not move it is clear and illuminates all darkness with its light. But if the wind is moving, the flame then will not be clear and darkness will remain. So, without Shiney meditation, Lhatong will not arise. Without Shiney, meditation will not be stable and one-pointed. And, without Lhatong meditation, the practitioner will not gain wisdom.

Shiney Meditation

Now the practitioner can begin Shiney meditation. One starts concentrating on one object. There are both pure and impure forms in which one can concentrate the mind on. Visualizing or concentrating on a solid form of the Buddha is the best method, it is a pure form which the mind can settle it's concentration with.

However, especially at the beginning, people have the tendency to not concentrate on a pure form like the Buddha. So then an impure form such a stone, piece of wood, or anything else is placed in front of oneself. The mind’s concentration is then guided to this impure object and one trains the mind to remain without unwavering on that object. One can placed the object in the shadow of the sun and moon, and watch as it changes. One can also concentrate on the breath and watch it go in and out.

Shiney meditation uses the senses and our mind’s awareness. The eyes are the sense which distracts us the most, therefore forms are used to slowly aid one in concentrating single-pointedly. Distraction through sound, smell, taste and touch are not always as dominant as distraction through sight during meditation.

Slowly the practitioner will adapt to the calm mind and learn to use other meditations. After one learns to concentrate on a stone, then one can next visualize a ball of light between one’s eyebrows or above the head. The color of this sphere of light is not important. It is more important that one sticks with this meditation for a long time and trains the mind with it.

Then, the practitioner can begin visualizing the Buddha and other deities, and take these pure forms as the objects of our meditation. First one should visualize the Buddha without much detail. Gradually the eyes, cloths, nose and details are included in the visualization.

We must balance meditation practice by not concentrating too much or too little. This is like what should be done when someone tries to spin a cord. If he does it too fast and strong, the cord will get cut. And, if he spins it too loosely, the cord will end up being a ball of intertwined, loose strings. So, with meditation, a balance needs to be maintained. Too loose and too tight are both unsuitable for meditation.

Shiney meditation is not meant as a method to become unaware or to develop a blank mind. While meditating, if your mind becomes very unaware and too quiet, then take a short break. Pause and then begin the meditation afterward. Stop the meditation for a short period if one is tired or the meditation isn’t working well. Otherwise, if one continues, you will not want to meditate again that day or become frustrated.

This can be understood through the example of us doing manual, physical work. If you do some work and then take a short break, you will be happy to return to the work. But if you continue to work until you are tired, you will not want to work again. Likewise, you meet a friend and have a good time; you both want to see each other again when the time is right. But, if you and your friend spend a very long time together, you will get tired of seeing him and will not be interested to meet him again in the near future.

So, short yet frequent periods of meditation is what beginning practitioners must do. Slowly one learns to meditate longer and develop concentration.

By practicing this way, one will reach the results of Shiney quickly. The mind will naturally be able to remain in a state of concentration. Even the body will learn to relax and be able to sit in meditation for longer periods of time. In time, even meditating for one week or more will not be painful.

Meditating in this way is connected with the Hinayana, the vehicle of the Listeners who aim at liberating only themselves from suffering. In in the Hinayana, one begins to meditate in this manner.

Other Shiney practices in the Hinayana include meditating upon the impermanence of the body; one sees how the body consists of many organs and then dies. The process of death is meditated upon, such as how the body becomes darker and more ugly, until only a skeleton is left. This is not done as a morbid practice, but instead so the practitioner will recognize the reality of impermanence and death. People sometimes do not wish to think about death, they feel it is a sad topic. But if we are so against it now, when the time of death comes the individual will face much more agony and resentment. So by thinking about death now, we will suffer less later on.

There are also different methods used to meditate upon the breath. Meditating upon one's breath cuts off our constant thought flow and the stir of mental activity. The practitioner breaths in and out, doing so for twenty-one times. The breath is relaxed and natural. Forcing the breath is not proper here. This breathing technique is repeated for as long as is possible, and also based upon what level the practitioner is at.

In one particular breath practice, the student follows the exhaled breath mentally until it is sixteen finger-lengths in front of the nose, and likewise follows the inhaled breath until it reaches down into one's body.

Another method used with breathing is to imagine colors with the breath, such as blue, yellow and red. One can also visualize the breath as a jewel necklace circulating as one breaths in and out.

Obstacles during Shiney Meditation

With regards to the various obstacles that arise in meditation, there are two types of antidotes: one is changing the meditation method and the second is through behavior/external changes. If neither of these antidotes work, it generally means that there is a karmic cause for the mind's dullness or distraction.

If too many thoughts arise, make sure that one is wearing warm cloths, the gaze is looking slightly downward and that one is not hungry. During meditation, visualizing a dark blue buddha like Akshobhya or the Medicine Buddha is beneficial. Likewise, contemplating the truths of impermanence, suffering and death will calm the mind's excitement.

The karmic cause for an active and overly excited mind is generally desire and attachment. Having greed and jealousy in previous lifetimes can cause this habit. To lessen this karmic cause, shunning attachment and greed should be practiced.

If the mind is dull and too relaxed, do not eat too much, wear less clothing and gaze slightly upward. It is useful to make the mind happy when dullness arises. Contemplating on the qualities of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is beneficial here. Recalling that one has a precious existence and a wonderful opportunity to practice the dharma is also an excellent antidote. Meditating on white colored buddhas bring positive results.

The karmic cause for a dull and unclear mind is having wrong views, meaning one might have disrespected the Three Jewels, whether it be not standing in their presence or even slandering them. To lessen this karmic cause, praising the Three Jewels, whether it be the Bodhisattvas or the authenticity of the the Four Noble Truths, will bring positive results.

When meditating, it is necessary to assume the proper position, which is called the Seven Points of Vairochana. By sitting in these seven points, the energy channels in the body flow properly. Otherwise, if the body and its energy are imbalanced or in an awkward position, this can cause the mind to wander or become dull.

1)The legs should be placed in either the full lotus position or half lotus position.

2)The hands should be placed below the navel, resting on the lap, with the right hand placed on top of the left hand. The thumbs should touch each other right below the navel.

3)The shoulders should be pulled back slightly and broadened

4)The chin should be tucked in only slightly, closing the back of the throat

5)One's gaze should be focused into the space in front, about sixteen finger-lengths in front of the nose.

6)The tongue should gently touch the top palate of the mouth and the lips not be too open or tightly closed.

7)The back should be straight, but naturally bend at the bottom

It is important that the practitioner learns to sit in this meditative position. This is because, the position of our body affects our physical and mental state of well-being.

Physically, inside our body, we have different energy channels (winds). Our posture during meditation affects these energy winds. The legs control the downward energy winds, which control excreation. The hands control the energy wind of digestion. The back holds the energy wind that controls physical strength. The shoulders control the energy wind which stabilize our lifeforce. The position of the mouth and chin control the upward winds. So, our body position during meditation can protect against illnesses and aid one's physical well-being.

Likewise, the way our body leans can affect our mental state. Leaning towards the right causes more aggression to arise while leaning towards the left causes desire to become stronger. Ignorance and dullness arise when one leans forward, and as one leans back pride arises. When the gaze is improper, more thoughts tend to distract the one's concentration.

With Shiney meditation, the goal of practice is to learn how to control these distractions and negative emotions, even though the practitioner has not fully cut these obstacles from their root yet.

* Continued @ http://www.simhas.org/teaching33.html

5. The Integral Institute

* http://www.integralinstitute.org/integral.cfm


In the summer of 1997, a group of philanthropists approached Ken Wilber with an offer of substantial funds to start an organization that would advance more comprehensive and integrated approaches to the world's increasingly complex problems.  Wilber invited some 400 of the world's leading integral thinkers to gather together for a series of meetings at his home in Boulder, Colorado.  Joe Firmage, who was invited to several of these meetings, announced that "there is nothing anywhere in the world that is doing what Integral Institute is doing," and then promptly donated a million dollars in cash.  With that donation, Integral Institute was formally launched.  It was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c) in 1998.

Integral Institute has gone through three major phases since its inception.  The first was launch and exploration, consisting of almost two years of meetings with over 400 of the world’s leading integral theorists.  The second was oriented around the creation of core teams, which is still a central activity of I-I.  The third (set for the summer of 2003) is the launch of the web-based Multiplex, the world’s first Integral Learning Community, and its preview website, Integral Naked.


Ken Wilber is generally regarded as the world's most influential integral thinker.  He is the first psychologist-philosopher in history to have his Collected Works published while still alive (he's 54), and with his 22 books translated in up to 30 foreign languages, Ken is perhaps the most highly translated academic writer in America.

Integral means "comprehensive, inclusive, covering all the bases"—or at least trying to.  A comprehensive, integral, or inclusive approach is, almost by definition, a little bit hard to grasp at the beginning.  However, as its general features become familiar, the integral approach to various problems actually becomes fairly simple to understand and easy to apply.

Although Ken is clearly a central figure in Integral Institute, its many members, friends, and associates are a crucial part of I-I and its work in the world.  Please see below for some of Integral Institute's Founding Members, and see the Letter from the President and Present Activities for some of I-I's ongoing work and service in the world.

Integral Institute is dedicated to the proposition that partial and piecemeal approaches to complex problems are ineffective.  Whether addressing individual and personal issues of meaning and transformation, or increasingly complex social problems such as war, hunger, disease, over-population, housing, ecology, and education, partial and fragmented approaches need to be replaced by solutions that are more comprehensive, systematic, encompassing—and integral. 

Accordingly, there are four main goals for the Institute:

(1)  Integrate the largest amount of research from the largest number of disciplines—including the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, ecology), art, ethics, religion, psychology, politics, business, sociology, and spirituality.

(2)  Develop practical products and services from this research—which can be used by individuals in their own development, or by groups, businesses, national and international organizations.

(3)  Apply this integrated knowledge and method of problem solving to critical and urgent issues—especially the serious political, health, educational, business, and environmental problems facing humanity. This integral approach to problem solving is employed by the Institute’s own members; by forming alliances with other organizations; and by training organizational leaders, managers, and change agents in the Integral Approach.

(4)  Create the world’s first Integral Learning Community—at first online (through the Multiplex), and increasingly in national and international communities of Integral Practice.

Integral Institute functions as the world’s premier site for integral research and applications; as a generator of consulting services, seminars, and conferences; as a network of the most influential integral theorists from around the world; and as an open organization for disseminating and applying integral methods to complex problems in a wide variety of fields, personal to professional.

The mission of the Institute is to assist people and organizations along integral, comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable lines in order to dramatically improve the quality of life on this planet.  Integral Institute’s founding belief is that by helping individuals, companies, organizations, governments, NGOs, and communities to become integrally informed, they can more effectively chart their courses and make wiser and saner decisions today and in the future; develop successful, breakthrough strategies to help solve their problems; and more successfully mobilize their resources to implement desired solutions consonant with integral sustainability

Because Integral Institute specializes in integral operating systems (IOS) that can help any organization reorient itself in a more balanced and comprehensive fashion, I-I serves as an “organization for other organizations,” helping them with operating systems that touch bases with previously neglected potentials in individuals and organizations. 

Integral Institute is also pioneering the world’s first Integral Learning Community, previews of which are presented in Integral Naked (going live in May 2003), but the more complete form of which can be found in the launching of the online Multiplex planned for the summer of 2003. 

By assisting people in various settings to become more balanced and comprehensive in their decisions, Integral Institute believes that it can assist a collective increase in wisdom and basic sanity for the planet and future generations.

6. A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality

...by Ken Wilber

* http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1570628556/wwwkusalaorg-20/

Amazon.com... The spiritual intellectual Ken Wilber takes on the hottest theory in modern physics, known as the "M Theory," or the "The Theory of Everything." As Wilber explains, it is "a model that would unite all the known laws of the universe into one all-embracing theory that would literally explain everything in existence." Of course this new "M Theory" opens up a can of wormy, slippery questions, which Wilber addresses: "What does 'everything' actually mean? Would this new theory in physics explain, say, the meaning of human poetry? Or how economics work? Or the stages of psychosexual development?"

Being Ken Wilber, he couldn't resist answering these questions by folding the "Theory of Everything" into some of his own personal visions and theories. This overlay is presented in his signature straightforward, clearly written style. The upshot is that common readers can easily follow Wilber on a quantum journey and wind up with a lasting souvenir--a scientific and spiritual understanding of how the mind, body, soul, and universe all work together like a never-ending symphony. And that's just in the first four chapters. From there he shows readers the practical applications of this vision--explaining how it could lead to more integrative styles of business, education, medicine, ecology, and even how we address world conflicts. Wilber admits that this "holistic quest is an ever-receding dream, a horizon that constantly retreats as we approach it." Nonetheless, he can still take readers on an incredible journey--one that's well worth the price of the ticket. --Gail Hudson

Amazon.com- Reviewer: G. Merritt from Phoenix, Arizona... Read this book. It provides a thought-provoking introduction to Ken Wilber's "integral vision," a theory that attempts to integrate all things--science, religion, art, morals, physics, politics, medicine, education, ecology, sociology and business. Wilber observes that approximately 20 percent of the population is poised for "second-tier" integral transformation (p. 33), and that we are at "a branch point:" we can continue travelling the road of scientific materialism, fragmented pluralism, and deconstructive postmodernism, or we can pursue a more integral, more embracing, more inclusive path to travel (p. xiii). The book's first four chapters introduce us to Wilber's "Theory of Everything," and the last three demonstrate the theory's "real world" relevance. In the final chapter, Wilber reduces his theory to a personal level of "integral transformative practice." Throughout the book, Wilber's prose is conversational in tone.

For me, reading this book has sparked a fascination with Wilber's philosophy, and as a brief introduction to his writings, this book left me eager to read Wilber's other books to hopefully obtain a deeper understanding of his integral vision.

7. Peace Quote...

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart. - St. Francis of Assisi


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