Calming the mind

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dolphin_color
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Calming the mind

Post by dolphin_color » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:26 pm

In your experience, what actually helps calm the mind before a meditation session? Some chanting seems to help a lot, but some exercise or yoga could help too, I suppose.

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:23 pm

Bodhicitta and even imperfect attempts at virtue during the day.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

dolphin_color
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by dolphin_color » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:33 pm

Hi Myoan, thanks. And how specifically do you practice bodhicitta before your sessions?

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:10 pm

Cultivation of Bodhicitta in daily life activities, such as these excellent instructions from Lama Zopa: https://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/edu ... tta_c5.pdf

I also find that reading Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life on occasion inclines me in a better direction: https://bodetam.org/MahayanaBuddhism/En ... allace.pdf

:thumbsup:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:03 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:33 pm
Hi Myoan, thanks. And how specifically do you practice bodhicitta before your sessions?
Remind yourself that you are meditating for the benefit of all beings,
you are doing it so that you can be able to liberate beings from samsara.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

dolphin_color
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by dolphin_color » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:40 pm

Remind yourself that you are meditating for the benefit of all beings,
you are doing it so that you can be able to liberate beings from samsara.
I dig it, nice.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:24 am

dolphin_color wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:26 pm
In your experience, what actually helps calm the mind before a meditation session? Some chanting seems to help a lot, but some exercise or yoga could help too, I suppose.
Laying on your back and abdominal breathing, various methods of progressively relaxing your physiology. There are traditional variants, modern ones etc. IMO, it's really tough to truly relax while continuing to do conceptual activities, that's pretty "advanced" as it were... but YMMV.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:25 am

dolphin_color wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:40 pm
Remind yourself that you are meditating for the benefit of all beings,
you are doing it so that you can be able to liberate beings from samsara.
I dig it, nice.
:twothumbsup:

Lama Zopa's book is essentially a guide on how to bring that attitude to daily activities, which transforms them into Dharma practice. Such a continuity in thinking on the Dharma is helpful in calming the mind in general.

Regarding virtue, the Buddha said :
[Ananda:] "What, O Venerable One, is the reward and blessing of wholesome morality?"

[The Buddha:] "Freedom from remorse, Ananda."

"And of freedom from remorse?"

"Joy, Ananda"

"And of joy?"

"Rapture, Ananda"

"And of rapture?"

"Tranquillity, Ananda."

"And of tranquillity?"

"Happiness, Ananda."

"And of happiness?"

"Concentration, Ananda."

"And of concentration?"

"Vision and knowledge according to reality."

"And of the vision and knowledge according to reality?"

"Turning away and detachment, Ananda."

"And of turning away and detachment?"

"The vision and knowledge with regard to Deliverance, Ananda."

— AN 10.1 (Nyanatiloka, trans.; from Path to Deliverance, pp. 65-66)
So virtue supports concentration. And Shantideva wrote a whole book on the virtue of rousing bodhicitta :smile:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

如傑優婆塞
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by 如傑優婆塞 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:13 am

Back then, when I practiced with Dharma Drum Mountain, these were recommended preliminary practices developed by DDM's Founding Master before an actual sitting. There are 2 types and anyone can try it out for themselves to calm both body & mind.

phpBB [video]
phpBB [video]

dolphin_color
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by dolphin_color » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:02 am

various methods of progressively relaxing your physiology. There are traditional variants, modern ones etc
Ok, anything to add on these? I know some videos were just posted. Maybe those are examples.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:06 am

dolphin_color wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:02 am
various methods of progressively relaxing your physiology. There are traditional variants, modern ones etc
Ok, anything to add on these? I know some videos were just posted. Maybe those are examples.
Sure, if you have the opportunity to learn Tsa Lung, Qigong etc. that is one method. Reggie Ray has an eclectic series of somatic meditations that go in this direction (I think they are available for free), you could even just look up progressive muscle relaxation exercises for anxiety.

This is of course just my own experience - the experiences of others is sure to be different. I found that relaxing my body and delving into my own physical tensions was -the key- to progressing in meditation, and the only way I could experience the calm state of mind. Naturally, everyone's experience is different.

Working in the world of counseling, and previously working in body work (massage therapy for injury), I feel like physical tension is almost directly connected to thought process and emotional state - this is true in all the "traditional" models as well. Certainly, they have a complimentary relationship, more of one usually means more of the other and vice versa. So, it's one obvious place to "calm the mind" that often gets overlooked.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Astus
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by Astus » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:38 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:26 pm
In your experience, what actually helps calm the mind before a meditation session?
There are numerous practices, especially those performed regularly in ceremonies, that are meant to help taming the mind. In particular repentance is a powerful one, so are devotional practices. Depending on your preferred tradition, you can find those that fit your situation. Furthermore, what object you choose to tame the mind can also matter a lot.

“If beings of dull capacity in the final age desire in their hearts to pursue the Way but cannot succeed in realizing it due to karmic obstructions from the past, they should ardently repent and always keep up their hope. They must first cut off likes and dislikes, envy, and deceitfulness and pursue the superior mind. They may practice any one of these three kinds of pure contemplation. If that contemplation does not succeed, they should then practice another contemplation. They should not become disheartened but should [continue to] pursue realization gradually.”
(Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, ch 11, BDK ed, p 106)

"The fifth method is a practice [designed] to cure people equally [troubled with multiple problems]. [This method is also intended for] people who have committed grave transgressions and who seek for [help from] the Buddha.
[The master] should teach such people the single-minded concentration on calling the Buddha to mind. There are three types of people who practice the concentration on calling the Buddha to mind: elementary, intermediate, and advanced."

(The Sutra on the Concentration of Sitting Meditation, BDK ed, p 33)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Queequeg
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by Queequeg » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:10 pm

A good run. Dynamic exercise.

It takes a little while for the heart rate and body temperature to settle back down, but I find the body is relaxed and nervous energy worked out of the muscles. Endorphins help with calm.

A good, basic Mahayana meditation manual is the so-called Small Calming and Insight manual by Zhiyi. There is a decent translation by Bhiksu Dharmamitra, titled in English "The Essentials of Buddhist Meditation". There is also a translation by Paul Swanson included in the appendix volume of his translation of Mohezhikuan, titled in English, "Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight." It takes you through basic preparations including setting up a practice area and approaching the seat. Offers advice on dealing with obstacles in meditation. The writing was prompted by the needs of his brother who was going through difficulty in his life.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

dolphin_color
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Re: Calming the mind

Post by dolphin_color » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:13 pm

Johnny, Astus, Queequeg, thanks a bunch!

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