How long do you meditate for?

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Adamantine
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Adamantine »

Malcolm wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Malcolm wrote:

In any case, in Dzogchen, one just unifies all samaya in guru yoga and that is sufficient.
This was a dialogue with a Gelug HYT practitioner, not an Ati yogi.
You are a Dzogchen practitioner. You don't follow the Hinayanistic interpretation of samaya found in Sarma, do you? If so, why relate to it from their point of view and try to condition someone else?

From my perspective he has not broken any samaya since he has maintained his commitment to liberation, which is the essential "samaya" in which all other relative samayas are contained.

Samaya shaming practitioners for any reason is stupid.
I wasn't "Samaya shamIng" anyone, just addressing it as an integral aspect of Vajrayana and HYT practice. If one doesn't
keep their Samaya purely in Vajrayana, their understanding and realization also will suffer. They implied that they'd practiced HYT for 20 years and understood it well yet didn't consider it to be meditation. So considering that I've been aware of people who have practiced for that length of time or longer and not understood crucial things-- (perhaps even myself!) and considering how often Samaya is misunderstood, glossed over,
or plainly ignored by Western converts, I brought that up as
a potential thing to address. However, I was not accusing the OP of breaking Samaya, as I said already it's quite possible they could be keeping their Samaya purely and still practicing Zen as their primary practice. But it's not something to ignore either when we are discussing understandings of HYT practice and what will help or hinder one's ability to bear fruit from it.
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Adamantine »

dzogchungpa wrote:Guys, this is just a bunch of prapañca. Shouldn't we all be following our breath or something?
Wouldn't that just be pranapañca? :smile:
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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dzogchungpa
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Adamantine wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Guys, this is just a bunch of prapañca. Shouldn't we all be following our breath or something?
Wouldn't that just be pranapañca? :smile:
Does that have something to do with the pañca prāṇa? Image
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Yogavajra »

Adamantine wrote: Especially since in Gelug HYT the vows and commitments are quite strict and binding for life. . . unless you were personally released from them by your Guru?
Ironically thats one of the reasons I shifted into a Zen practice. The idea of being bound to another person, Guru or Deity didn't (doesn't) sit well with me at all. Shunyata I can do...brimstone and fire I cannot.

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Yogavajra »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Yogavajra wrote:
This is just because you don't have enough information on the subject, in many ways Tantric meditations are superior to "just sitting".
Superior? Thats quite a statement! Can you qualify what you mean by superior?

Ps. for the record I was a Gelug Highest Yoga Tantra practitioner for a couple of decades before moving to Zen.
Then why did you need to ask the question in the first place? Was it simply asked rhetorically as a statement of your own opinion?
No sure what you're asking? I asked because I was curious. Nothing more.

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Yogavajra »

So, to recap.

I don't think you can make an off the cushion practice synonymous with sitting on the cushion. It has overtones of a lazy practice - no offence, just an observation. I'd question if you can actually experience the nature of the mind whilst not quietly investigating the nature of the mind.

As a result of this i shifted into a more meditation, on the cushion practice that started with being extremely impressed with the Theravada dedication to sitting.

I was just curious how a 10min 'meditation' is a qualified practice of....well, 'meditation' - because as I have said, I don't believe the realizations required for liberation can be achieved off the cushion.

I know thats not going to sit well but someone asked why I asked....there you have it.

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Ayu »

Yogavajra wrote:So, to recap.

I don't think you can make an off the cushion practice synonymous with sitting on the cushion. It has overtones of a lazy practice - no offence, just an observation. I'd question if you can actually experience the nature of the mind whilst not quietly investigating the nature of the mind.

As a result of this i shifted into a more meditation, on the cushion practice that started with being extremely impressed with the Theravada dedication to sitting.

I was just curious how a 10min 'meditation' is a qualified practice of....well, 'meditation' - because as I have said, I don't believe the realizations required for liberation can be achieved off the cushion.

I know thats not going to sit well but someone asked why I asked....there you have it.
Well, I can state, I don't agree with any single sentence you've written in this post. :shrug:
Never mind.
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Kelwin »

Just some thoughts that came up:

First, I learned Shamata and Vipassana. It helped me be calm and aware.

Then, I learned Vajrayana. It wasn't calm, gave me distractions, made me fascinated, grasping, etc. But, it showed me awareness beyond anything I experienced before.

Now, I'm slowly learning to practice the Vajrayana while being calm an aware. No longer distracting, it is actually deepening the calmness of more 'basic' meditation forms.

I would agree that many Vajrayana students, myself included, do less 'pure' meditation than many students of Zen or Vipassana traditions. But I also agree that the methods are indeed superior for those who have a good connection to it. And that a session of a more complicated looking Vajrayana practice can certainly be considered pure meditation, when done correctly.

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Matt J »

I've actually come from a reverse trajectory, from Theravada, to Zen, to Vajrayana. Personally, I don't think Theravada is a good path for householders. The tradition is based on monastics, and lay people were primarily there to support the monastics. When Buddhism spread to China, for example, the traditional way of lay people supporting monastics was largely absent. So you see a change in culture there, from a primary emphasis on sitting to less traditional methods. Also, in India, you see Tantra arising in non-monastic settings--- perhaps even as a way for lay people to benefit from extremely powerful practices. I see some teachers of Vajrayana, even coming out of traditional backgrounds, are becoming lay persons who teach lay people in the West. If the dharma takes root in the West, then a large part of that is going to have to involve lay people and integrating with the lay life.

Personally, I find that applying the dharma moment-to-moment in daily life is far more powerful than the strong sitting practices I used to do. The reason for this is that I spend most of my time in the world, so if I cultivate my practice primarily as a concentrated sitting practice, then honestly most of what I do is going to go to waste. If I'm sitting in traffic, and some one cuts me off, I don't have time to first focus on the breath, still the mind, and then analyze what's going on. But if I have cultivated a habit of mindfulness and wisdom, then I know that getting cut off in traffic is not a big deal. In fact, the person who is doing so is dealing with difficult mind states--- mind states we can recognize best if we see them in ourselves first. Maybe then, there's even some compassion.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Adamantine »

Yogavajra wrote:So, to recap.

I don't think you can make an off the cushion practice synonymous with sitting on the cushion.


Now I'm getting confused. Are you implying that Vajrayana mantra practices are off-the-cushion? I'm trying to see any other contrast in this thread than the one made between Vajrayana practices and practices of Zen and Theravada, but I am coming up short. When you were doing your 20 years of HYT practice, was that done standing or walking around?

It has overtones of a lazy practice - no offence, just an observation.
Funny because a view of Vajrayana would be the practice that is isolated to the cushion is in fact the lazy practice. There's an emphasis on post-meditation practice i.e. integration. Isolating one's practice at the level of mind alone is complete. Harmonizing one's vipassana and shamatha with all three dimensions of body speech and mind is one of the crucial points of Vajrayana, rather than just leaving it at the mind dimension alone. This helps with integration in post meditation, since we are acting with our body speech and mind all the time.
I'd question if you can actually experience the nature of the mind whilst not quietly investigating the nature of the mind.
The only way to adequately question it is to test it out. But I don't think what you are referring to as nature of mind corresponds to a what Dzogchen or Mahamudra masters are referring to, because if it were you wouldn't be sustaining your current views.
As a result of this i shifted into a more meditation, on the cushion practice that started with being extremely impressed with the Theravada dedication to sitting.
It's always good to be honest about one's capacity, however it's not a good idea to project that upon others.
I was just curious how a 10min 'meditation' is a qualified practice of....well,
Many short sessions throughout the day are an important strategy for integrating one's meditation with post-meditation experience and conduct. This is common advice from the higher vehicles.
'meditation' - because as I have said, I don't believe the realizations required for liberation can be achieved off the cushion.
Maybe not for you, but again it's not a good idea to project these kinds of limitations upon others.
I know thats not going to sit well .
A pun? :smile:

Now that your cards are on the table it's hard to avoid seeing this thread in the TB forum as a type of trolling.
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by ngodrup »

At this point, I might share something I got from my Root Lama.

I had this idea about silent sitting too, at an early stage.
Although I could feel the power of the chanting and visualization liturgy--
especially in group setting. I certainly relished the quiet parts when
silent mantra accumulation was happening-- electric.

There were many young families with young children in the
sangha at the time. (I will add that I'm not especially fond
of children.) So, when the adults were quietly meditating,
the children were running around being children-- noisily playing.

I was thinking: "what kind of irresponsible parents bring their kids
to this adult environment, then leave them unattended, and free
to disturb us, breaking the silence... bla. bla, bla?"

Well, maybe I wasn't the only one? Maybe some other person complained
verbally. I didn't.

But one day, the Lama said: "I've heard some people don't like the children
in this room when we're meditating, disturbing the meditation. To, you
I have a question: 'What kind of mediator has this problem?"

One single question and its implication, completely destroyed this
"issue" in an instant. Distraction is only ever an inside problem.

To me it looks as if this answers the OP's question, and anyone
who agrees that vajrayana liturgy is a distraction, not a meditation.
No. It is a training in meditation in the midst of the chaos of life, living,
dying, the bardos. It reminds me of something I heard that Kalu Rinpoche
said when students told him they were meditating on the breath. He said,
"Great. How will you meditate when you stop breathing?"

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Anders »

Yogavajra wrote:So, to recap.

I don't think you can make an off the cushion practice synonymous with sitting on the cushion. It has overtones of a lazy practice - no offence, just an observation. I'd question if you can actually experience the nature of the mind whilst not quietly investigating the nature of the mind.

As a result of this i shifted into a more meditation, on the cushion practice that started with being extremely impressed with the Theravada dedication to sitting.

I was just curious how a 10min 'meditation' is a qualified practice of....well, 'meditation' - because as I have said, I don't believe the realizations required for liberation can be achieved off the cushion.

I know thats not going to sit well but someone asked why I asked....there you have it.
I wonder how you arrived at this after practising Zen. Surely you have read the platform sutra by now, which utterly demolishes this view.

I am very pro zazen, but I don't recognise this sort of view at all.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Yogavajra wrote:I don't think you can make an off the cushion practice synonymous with sitting on the cushion. It has overtones of a lazy practice - no offence, just an observation.
This is a truly egregious example of lazy shaming.

:ban:
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Yogavajra wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Yogavajra wrote:
Superior? Thats quite a statement! Can you qualify what you mean by superior?

Ps. for the record I was a Gelug Highest Yoga Tantra practitioner for a couple of decades before moving to Zen.
Then why did you need to ask the question in the first place? Was it simply asked rhetorically as a statement of your own opinion?
No sure what you're asking? I asked because I was curious. Nothing more.

I'm saying if you were actually involved in the Gelug tradition for 20 plus years, why would you need to ask a question about seated meditation? Further, why would you even want to?

Also, there is some variance here, my own (Tibetan) teacher emphasizes Shamatha and Vipaysana quit a bit, and there seem to be some teachers who see a minimum skill in Shamatha as a pre requisite for being able to do Tantra. In fact, I had always thought the more gradual Gelug approach included seated meditation, and nearly every Tibetan center (of any lineage) I know of has sitting meditation practices. In fact, my center even has "long sits" of two hours.

However, if you want to know why it occupies less of a position, there are warnings and stories about over-developing quiescence by itself, and how it leads to a 'dull' state that people mistake for something more than it is, and get sidetracked in their practice. So IME the Tibetan approach is more to do short sessions, and gradually expand, rather than say "well, I'm going to sit for an hour".

In my personal experience it's a MUCH more efficacious plan then what *I* personally experienced in Zen, which was mandatory longer sitting times, that weren't nearly as productive as even a few minutes of seated meditation for me in the Tibetan tradition.

Another issue is, you don't seem to understand or acknowledge that seated meditation is not the only form of meditation by a longshot. Doing an hour and half long sadhana effectively requires serious concentration. Just like seated meditation though, you could be doing it and simply thinking about your next meal, etc. Thinking sadhana practice is 'lazy' is dead wrong.



So basically, you are trolling.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by dzogchungpa »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:So basically, you are trolling.
More charitably, we might say that he or she is trying to invigorate the clarity aspect a bit.

:smile:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Yogavajra wrote:So, to recap.

I don't think you can make an off the cushion practice synonymous with sitting on the cushion. It has overtones of a lazy practice - no offence, just an observation. I'd question if you can actually experience the nature of the mind whilst not quietly investigating the nature of the mind.
It is really your limitation that you cannot see activity as related to the nature of mind, not anyone elses. And it is just that, a limitation.

Lazy practice? Now I really think you are making stuff up about practicing HYT. The Tibetan traditions have crazy practice commitments..when I started Vajrayana after Zen I gradually went from no daily practice at all on my own outside the Zendo, then half an hour, and now over an hour a day. I imagine it's the same for people here, and I know there are others doing more too. You may not like the approach, but "lazy" it ain't.
As a result of this i shifted into a more meditation, on the cushion practice that started with being extremely impressed with the Theravada dedication to sitting.
I again voice my skepticism that you have spent the time in Tibetan traditions you claim to, if you had, you would see there are people who do a *crazy* amount of meditation period, including what *you* personally are calling meditation. Also, most of us sit *on cushions* when doing sadhana.
I was just curious how a 10min 'meditation' is a qualified practice of....well, 'meditation' - because as I have said, I don't believe the realizations required for liberation can be achieved off the cushion.
The entire sadhana is meditation, the silent part is one aspect. And again, plenty of centers do, in fact, have public silent meditation that is comparable to other traditions.
I know thats not going to sit well but someone asked why I asked....there you have it.
It's inflammatory nonsense, meant to insult people, and not to engage in an honest discussion.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by ngodrup »

And frankly, at a sutrayana level, purely in the Gelugpa system.
What do you think debate is? Monks and nuns in that tradition
debate as a practice -- 8, 10 or more hours a day.

Analytic meditation-- It's a kind of vipassana.
Practice for 20 years in the Gelugpa system would involve
a lot of memorization and debate and one would certainly
have received their Geshe degree by then.

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Adamantine »

Yogavajra wrote:
Adamantine wrote: Especially since in Gelug HYT the vows and commitments are quite strict and binding for life. . . unless you were personally released from them by your Guru?
Ironically thats one of the reasons I shifted into a Zen practice. The idea of being bound to another person, Guru or Deity didn't (doesn't) sit well with me at all. Shunyata I can do...brimstone and fire I cannot.
Understanding sunyata involves a deep understanding of interdependence / dependent arising. This understanding is a preliminary for truly understanding samaya and how it functions in the Vajrayana context. By your reference to brimstone and fire I don't think you've sufficiently grokked it. I'll just paste in two lines from my earlier post in response:
Adamantine wrote:considering how often Samaya is misunderstood, glossed over,
or plainly ignored by Western converts, I brought that up as
a potential thing to address."
Adamantine wrote:If one doesn't
keep their Samaya purely in Vajrayana, their understanding and realization also will suffer."
This is not fire and brimstone, it's simply understanding causes, conditions, and their effects. . . and how the inner science of the way these function has been consciously incorporated in order to quicken the path to Awakening through skillful methods. To conflate a dualistic Judeo-Christian paradigm with something as profound as Vajrayana Dharma implies that you may not have grasped it's most basic principles.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by heart »

ngodrup wrote:At this point, I might share something I got from my Root Lama.

I had this idea about silent sitting too, at an early stage.
Although I could feel the power of the chanting and visualization liturgy--
especially in group setting. I certainly relished the quiet parts when
silent mantra accumulation was happening-- electric.

There were many young families with young children in the
sangha at the time. (I will add that I'm not especially fond
of children.) So, when the adults were quietly meditating,
the children were running around being children-- noisily playing.

I was thinking: "what kind of irresponsible parents bring their kids
to this adult environment, then leave them unattended, and free
to disturb us, breaking the silence... bla. bla, bla?"

Well, maybe I wasn't the only one? Maybe some other person complained
verbally. I didn't.

But one day, the Lama said: "I've heard some people don't like the children
in this room when we're meditating, disturbing the meditation. To, you
I have a question: 'What kind of mediator has this problem?"

One single question and its implication, completely destroyed this
"issue" in an instant. Distraction is only ever an inside problem.

To me it looks as if this answers the OP's question, and anyone
who agrees that vajrayana liturgy is a distraction, not a meditation.
No. It is a training in meditation in the midst of the chaos of life, living,
dying, the bardos. It reminds me of something I heard that Kalu Rinpoche
said when students told him they were meditating on the breath. He said,
"Great. How will you meditate when you stop breathing?"
:good:

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: How long do you meditate for?

Post by Malcolm »

Adamantine wrote:To conflate a dualistic Judeo-Christian paradigm with something as profound as Vajrayana Dharma implies that you may not have grasped it's most basic principles.
He is doing nothing of the kind. In many places, the result of breaking samaya is described as a swift path to Vajra hell (Avici hell).

That is pretty fire and brimstone. Rather than patronizing the guy, you could try and hear him, and set aside your Vajrayāna privilege.

#Zenlivesmatter

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