Shamatha Outside of Retreat

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Motova
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Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Motova » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:33 am

How does one accomplish shamatha outside of retreat?

Right now I'm not working or going to school and am living with my parents. So I guess it's kind of like a semi-retreat environment.

Help? Tips? Advice?

:thanks:
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kirtu
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by kirtu » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:42 am

Sit down and practice (provided that you have instructions and have practiced before).

Kirt
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"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
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Bakmoon
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Bakmoon » Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:11 am

Motova wrote:How does one accomplish shamatha outside of retreat?

Right now I'm not working or going to school and am living with my parents. So I guess it's kind of like a semi-retreat environment.

Help? Tips? Advice?

:thanks:
Practicing every single day, preferably both in the morning and at night. Also, don't confuse practicing hard with practicing with force. That's the best general advice I can give.

Sherlock
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Sherlock » Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:15 am

Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.

BTW, it seems like this 9-stage model actually is much older than the Bhavanakrama, apparently Sarvastivadin Abhidharma had a similar nine-stage model of shamatha.

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kirtu
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by kirtu » Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:45 pm

Sherlock wrote:Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.
No way! Where does Wallace say that? Shamatha is not linearlly related to time (it's not a direct function of time). Having said hat, you do have to put the time in and 6 hrs a day could be good if you have the time.


Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Sherlock
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Sherlock » Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:33 pm

He says that in The Attention Revolution. He says basically the best way to get more advanced in shamatha is a retreat of a few months but if you are really dedicated you can try to do 6 hours of practice in daily life.

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kirtu
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by kirtu » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:05 pm

Sherlock wrote:He says that in The Attention Revolution.
Ok ....
He says basically the best way to get more advanced in shamatha is a retreat of a few months but if you are really dedicated you can try to do 6 hours of practice in daily life.
Sure, but most people don't have the time (or dedication). But in your previous post you said beyond the 4th stage of the 9 stage system. That's why I asked.

If you don't have the time for long-term intensive shamatha retreat then the next best thing is intensive week long + weekend retreats with practice everyday. Then after a few years you will (probably) be fairly accomplished. This of course is the lay Zen sesshin approach.

People must practice and they must practice intensively but still shamatha accomplishment is non-linear. Some (few) people will easily get results in shamatha sort of quickly. Others will take a lifetime. I am sometimes surprised by long-term meditators commenting causally on their lack of result in shamatha.
But if people really work at it, even just 15 mins a day, and resolve to practice the five precepts as best they can and really practice Bodhicitta then they will get some positive result.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Greg
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Greg » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:30 pm

Sherlock wrote:Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.

BTW, it seems like this 9-stage model actually is much older than the Bhavanakrama, apparently Sarvastivadin Abhidharma had a similar nine-stage model of shamatha.
Definitely much older than the Bhāvanākrama because it shows up in the Abhidharmasamuccaya, the Śrāvakabhūmi chapter of the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra, and the Mahāyānasūtrālaṅkāra. But I'd never seen it traced to Sarvāstivāda material - do you have an article you can point me to? Thanks

Sherlock
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Sherlock » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:24 am

Greg wrote:
Sherlock wrote:Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.

BTW, it seems like this 9-stage model actually is much older than the Bhavanakrama, apparently Sarvastivadin Abhidharma had a similar nine-stage model of shamatha.
Definitely much older than the Bhāvanākrama because it shows up in the Abhidharmasamuccaya, the Śrāvakabhūmi chapter of the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra, and the Mahāyānasūtrālaṅkāra. But I'd never seen it traced to Sarvāstivāda material - do you have an article you can point me to? Thanks
Stephen Suen's dissertation Methods of Spiritual Praxis in the Sarvastivada presents a few early sources for the nine-stage model. Actually there is even a text called the Dhammasangini in the Theravada canon that has a very similar 10-stage model.

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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by conebeckham » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:36 am

Honestly, I think the best advice is to practice many short sessions, throughout the day. Retreat is great, but long sessions, especially for a beginner, are maybe counterproductive.

Practice for 5 minutes, 20 times a day!

Then, practice for 10 minutes 15 times a day.

Etc.

Eventually, you can do some retreat.
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It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
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Paul
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Paul » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:23 pm

kirtu wrote:
Sherlock wrote:Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.
No way! Where does Wallace say that? Shamatha is not linearlly related to time (it's not a direct function of time). Having said hat, you do have to put the time in and 6 hrs a day could be good if you have the time.
When it's put like that, it sounds like you have to turn your life into a shamatha retreat.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

Greg
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Greg » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:02 am

Sherlock wrote:
Greg wrote:
Sherlock wrote:Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.

BTW, it seems like this 9-stage model actually is much older than the Bhavanakrama, apparently Sarvastivadin Abhidharma had a similar nine-stage model of shamatha.
Definitely much older than the Bhāvanākrama because it shows up in the Abhidharmasamuccaya, the Śrāvakabhūmi chapter of the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra, and the Mahāyānasūtrālaṅkāra. But I'd never seen it traced to Sarvāstivāda material - do you have an article you can point me to? Thanks
Stephen Suen's dissertation Methods of Spiritual Praxis in the Sarvastivada presents a few early sources for the nine-stage model. Actually there is even a text called the Dhammasangini in the Theravada canon that has a very similar 10-stage model.
Many thanks!

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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Greg » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:30 pm

Sherlock wrote:Stephen Suen's dissertation Methods of Spiritual Praxis in the Sarvastivada presents a few early sources for the nine-stage model. Actually there is even a text called the Dhammasangini in the Theravada canon that has a very similar 10-stage model.
Unless I'm looking in the wrong place, the only nine-stage model I see given in Suen is the following:


(a) rūpa samāpatti-s

1. first dhyāna
2. second dhyāna
3. third dhyāna
4. fourth dhyāna

(b) ārūpya samāpatti-s

5. the state of infinity of space
6. the state of infinity of consciousness
7. the state of nothingness
8. the state of neither-perception-nor-nonperception
9. nirodha-samāpatti

That is just the standard model of the eight dhyānas/jhānas plus nirodha-samāpatti. The nine stages of śamatha are all pre-first dhyāna, but they are elaborated as an earlier phase of the same model.

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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Sherlock » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:39 pm

Yes you are looking at the wrong section. It's the chapter on shamatha and vipasyana, in particular from page 121 onwards.
We can see that the Dhammasaṅgaṇi here enumerates a total of 10 terms
describing mental stability: (1) ṭhiti, (2) sanṭhiti, (3) avaṭṭhiti, (4) avisāhāro, (5)
avikkhepo, (6) avisāhaṭa-manasatā, (7) samatho, (8) samādhindriyaṃ, (9)
samādhi-balaṃ, (10) sammā-samādhi. We may thus regard the nine terms
excluding samatha as the defining characteristic of samatha.
Unless I am misunderstanding you and you are saying that you did read this section and don't find it similar to the later Bhavanakrama model because it is pre-first dhyana and you think the Bhavanakrama model supplants the dhyana model?

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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Greg » Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:47 am

Sherlock wrote:Yes you are looking at the wrong section. It's the chapter on shamatha and vipasyana, in particular from page 121 onwards.
We can see that the Dhammasaṅgaṇi here enumerates a total of 10 terms
describing mental stability: (1) ṭhiti, (2) sanṭhiti, (3) avaṭṭhiti, (4) avisāhāro, (5)
avikkhepo, (6) avisāhaṭa-manasatā, (7) samatho, (8) samādhindriyaṃ, (9)
samādhi-balaṃ, (10) sammā-samādhi. We may thus regard the nine terms
excluding samatha as the defining characteristic of samatha.
Unless I am misunderstanding you and you are saying that you did read this section and don't find it similar to the later Bhavanakrama model because it is pre-first dhyana and you think the Bhavanakrama model supplants the dhyana model?
Ah I see. I did miss that, thanks.

Greg
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Greg » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:30 am

Is there anyone familiar with Chinese who can evaluate the degree to which
stability of thought (/mental stability; 心住), complete stability (等住), continuous stability (近住), firm stability (安住), non-dispersion (不散), non-distraction (不亂),
concentration (攝止), equipoise (等持), one-pointedness of thought (心一境性)
correspond to cittasthāpana, samsthāpana, avasthāpana, upasthāpana, damana, śamana, vyupaśamana,ekotīkarana, and samādhāna? Suen seems to suggest it is essentially the same list.

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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by muni » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:43 am

.
Last edited by muni on Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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randomseb
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by randomseb » Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:18 am

Hmm here's an interesting breakdown of the stages of Shamatha in Chögyam Trungpa's lineage:

http://www.lionsroar.com/the-nine-stage ... -the-mind/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Disclaimer: If I have posted about something, then I obviously have no idea what I am talking about!

Greg
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by Greg » Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:06 pm

randomseb wrote:Hmm here's an interesting breakdown of the stages of Shamatha in Chögyam Trungpa's lineage:

http://www.lionsroar.com/the-nine-stage ... -the-mind/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This should probably be qualified a little. What SMR provides here is pretty traditional. In the 1979 Seminary Transcript Hinayana/Mahayana, CTR gives a presentation of the nine stages which is completely unconventional and doesn't really jibe at all with any other account I've ever seen.

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DespreTine
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Re: Shamatha Outside of Retreat

Post by DespreTine » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:05 pm

Paul wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Sherlock wrote:Alan Wallace says you need to practise 6 or more hours everyday to get beyond the fourth stage in the nine-stage model of shamatha.
No way! Where does Wallace say that? Shamatha is not linearlly related to time (it's not a direct function of time). Having said hat, you do have to put the time in and 6 hrs a day could be good if you have the time.
When it's put like that, it sounds like you have to turn your life into a shamatha retreat.
That is basically what Alan Wallace says. In "Attention Revolution" he repeatedly emphasizes how unlikely it is for people to achieve shamatha, access concentration in Theravadin parlance, in a modern lifestyle because so much time is spent in regular `samsaric` activities. The idea being that you can't settle your mind when you spend most of your day with a scattered mind.

I'm not sure I believe the claim but it does sound reasonable.
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