- The effect of meditation on body and mind
Q: May I ask: will there be any physical change? Is the body very healthy?
A: People who often meditate will get healthier. Especially one stays for a long time in the first Jhāna up to the third Jhāna, the impact on the body is more obvious.
For the stages above Fourth Jhāna, the impact on the body gradually become not obvious. But the awareness of the mind has been greatly improved.
Q: Precepts, concentration and wisdom, how did OP uphold precepts before practicing the Samatha? Which kind of wisdom did it help?
A: To practice meditation to reach Jhāna stages and Nirodha-Samapatti, the most important precept is to commit no sexual intercourse. Otherwise, the practice has done for nothing, and you will lose all progress if even leak for once . . .
To commit no sexual intercourse, it is not only in behavior, but also in psychology. Mind addiction should be stopped. The differentiation between beauty and ugliness should be avoided. Make your heart as the empty space, not attach to anything, in this way, you have enough mental strength to practice the Four Jhāna and the Four Formless Jhāna. Otherwise, your heart pounds too much things, when you want to practice, you will have no strength even with motivation.
Wisdom is based on concentration. Concentration is based on a pure mind. A pure mind is based on precepts.
The benefit of practicing concentration for gaining wisdom is the improvement of awareness. By this way, the light of wisdom can shine on even the tiny afflictions, so that it can be stopped, eliminated, and changed. In other words, concentration is “practice” and wisdom is “performance”. Concentration and wisdom merge into “cultivation”!
Q: Brother, can you introduce me a master to convert to?
A: Take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. If there is no Sangha, you can take refuge in Buddha and Dharma, or take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha of your self-nature.
- Meditation and Health
Q: Can a painful cancer patient enter Samadhi and have therapy?
A: For spiritual practitioners, cancer lesions belong to a huge negative energy zone. It is very difficult to practice filling and transforming this karma. This is a huge obstacle. However, if you can enter Samadhi, cultivate righteousness, and accumulate merits, there may also be a glimmer of opportunities.
If cancer patients want to get opportunities on the path of spiritual practice, I feel that they have to surpass ordinary people and devote 120% of energy to the practice. If they can make firm and steadily progress, step by step, often enter the 1st to 3rd Jhāna, accumulating energy and turning them into brightness and nourishing the whole body, it may be possible to overcome cancer.
Q: Brother, for a beginner in meditation, please give a suggestion, what Sutras to read?
A: Recite the Heart Sutra. Read the Diamond Sutra. Reading the “Path of Samadhi and Wisdom”.
Q: OP, there is a concept of Wisdom Eye, does it really exist? A few days ago, I closed my eyes and watch the brightness. After a while, I was in a trance, but I don’t know how to maintain it. Is this the normal reaction of a beginner in meditation? Thank you for your guidance.
A: You can practice Light Concentration by closing eyes and watching the brightness. Trance is not good, it is drowsiness. To maintain, one must concentrate into the light. Unify with the light. It is a phenomenon of meditation for beginners. It’s not yet entering Samadhi.
Wisdom Eye means of wisdom that sees the emptiness and no marks. The concept of truth is a kind of delusion, a false perception. So nothing is real.
In addition, don’t go over the top with this practice, and stop if the eyes are painful (try not to see the light with your eyes, the solution is to feel the light with your body and mind). Because of the risk of burns to the retina.
Q: How do you know the time in meditation? “Path of Samadhi and Wisdom” says that it’s required to exit the Samadhi when the time is up, but in reality, I am still far from the level of Samadhi, but it is easy to for me to sit for more than an hour, and it feels like it only took a little over ten minutes. I didn’t dare to set an alarm clock because my heart would beat so hard when I heard a sound during meditation. How to control the length of time?
A: Practice entering, staying, and exiting Samadhi. Reach proficiency.
Then, before entering Samadhi, figure out how long to stay. It’s like thinking about sleeping for a few hours before going to bed. People have this potential. When the set time comes, you will come out it automatically. Practice more and you will master the skills.
- Fearless of birth and death
Q: Original poster, I want to ask you, what is the most obvious change in yourself as a person after you finished your practice?
A: The most obvious change is the fearlessness of birth and death.
(Editor’s note: In fact, after a person has gone through the Nirodha-Samapatti, s/he will know what death is about, and s/he will have no fear of birth and death.)
Q: Excuse me, I have just started to learn meditation. It has been more than 2 months, 0.5 hours a day. I just feel a little calmer, but I still have distracting thoughts. How can I improve? !
A: 0.5 hours is too little. At least 45 minutes or more.
In addition, if you practice by yourself, you should start from the initial resolution. Motivation is fundamental. The precepts and wisdom after that are all auxiliary. To put it metaphorically, motivation is the seed, and precepts and wisdom are sunshine and water. Without seeds, sunlight and water cannot produce blossom and bear fruit.
Please see the first section of my writings “Structured Spiritual Practice”, how to make the initial resolution.
Q: How to solve the problem of easily giving up?
A: Withdrawal means that the mind is not firm and the precepts are not strict. So we should start from the beginning, the initial resolution. Uphold the precepts to protect the mind, keep the mind to forge ahead and never retreat. Then we have a base to talk about spiritual practice.
Q: What should I do if I can’t concentrate？
A: Investigate yourself from the perspective of determination. Find out why.
Q: Hello, I’d like to ask you a question. With regard of entering Samadhi by watching the breath. At first the breathing was very thick, then very fine, the sense of touch and feeling was obvious, and then did not feel the breath, at this time only felt the movement of the philtrum and nostrils, but did not feel the breath, for example, only the nostrils contracted and dilated, and then lasted for a period of time. If my mind started to think about it, the breathing begins to be thick again, so I gradually adjust. In short, I’m in a stage that “I cannot feel the air flow of the breath, only feel the movement of philtrum and nostrils”, I do not know what to do, please give me some advice.
A: First of all, in the Fourth Jhāna, the breath definitely stops. If there is a breathing mark, there is the habit of being attached to the breath, it will not stop, and thus affecting the entry into the Fourth Jhāna. So we should abandon the concept of breath and focus on the sense of touch at the philtrum. Even if you can’t feel anything, it’s still a feeling. Enter and stay in the Samadhi via this feeling.
Q: Brother, can I break Samsara after practicing the Four Jhānas and the Four formless Jhānas? When death comes, can we not reincarnate as we wish? In addition, can I ask you for contact information, if I have any doubts in the future, I would like to ask you.
A: By the Four Jhānas and the Four formless Jhānas, one cannot break Samsara. Samsara is driven by afflictions. To break Samsara, you must first eliminate the afflictions. The meditation cannot eliminate the afflictions. Afflictions are eliminated by wisdom. But the power of wisdom comes from concentration. So meditation is the foundation of wisdom. If you have any questions, you can ask here. Or the Bean Mail (of the forum) is fine.
Q: Thank you. I’ll read the books.
A: I do not recommend learning the Dharma without the Sutras. If you want to read a book, you must read the Sutras. Other people’s notes can only be used as a reference. As for books written without following Buddhist Sutras, they are only references to the reference. There is a saying, “Don’t let other people’s minds take our place of thinking.” I think it is also very suitable to guide the practice of the Dharma. Therefore, following the Sutras, digesting them independently, and thinking and practicing, is the right way, and it is a shortcut.
From the perspective of practice, it is recommended to study the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, and the Lankavatara Sutra.
Q: Hello, OP.
Ask a question. It’s been 6 years for me, and there has been almost no steady progress in meditation. For many years, I have been in a state of sitting and falling asleep. How to deal with it… Is it time to give up…
A: I have talked about the method of counting breaths, you can search for it and have a look. Count from 1 to 600, count again if there is a mistake. Have a try.
Q: Hello, OP~. As a beginners I want to ask how to progress from half lotus pose into the full lotus pose?
A: There is no need to force it. If you can do the lotus pose, just to do it. If you can’t, it’s fine to use half lotus pose or the easy pose
Q: How to treat a distracted mind? Please give me a message.
A: To treat the distracted mind is to uphold precepts and practice Samatha. Dispersion is an obstacle to be overcome in the first step of practice. The more progress in practice, the less distracted the mind is.
Q: Ask a frequently asked question, is there any thoughts in meditation? Sometimes I don’t know what’s going on, it’s like sleeping. I don’t know what happened.
A: There is thought in Samadhi. But there is only one thought. It is the thought that to stay in Samadhi. The so-called One-pointedness. There are thoughts all stages of Jhāna. Only in the Asamjna-Samapatti and Nirodha-Samapatti, there is no thought. These two kinds of Samadhi are concentrations without the mind.
If meditation is the same as sleeping, it is drowsiness. Or you simply fell asleep. Then it can’t be called Samadhi, it’s just sleep.
The other possibility is to you entered the Asamjna-Samapatti. You have to judge for yourself. Asamjna-Samapatti is a type of the Fourth Jhāna, the breath stops. When you exit from it, you would be at the access concentration of the Fourth Jhāna. And there will be memory loss after practicing Asamjna-Samapatti.
Q: Hello, OP! The reason why I practice meditation is that I was troubled by the secular world for a long time. I often cried at night. One night in my dream, I heard a voiceover saying, “I’ll take you into the Door of Liberation” All I heard was his voice, but I don’t know who he was. Later, by chance, I began to practice meditation and converted to Buddhism. I would like to ask you whether a person who wants to free from suffering and live in a world of bliss can get married. In the earthly world, I cannot become a monk against my parents’ wishes, nor can I not get married and not have children. Will this hinder my spiritual practice? In addition, is it not good to eat meat in the life of spiritual practice?
A: Generally speaking, secular life is a great obstacle to spiritual practice. In spiritual practice, there should be as little interference as possible. Especially in the early stages of spiritual practice.
Eating meat is definitely not good. It is an obstacle to spiritual practice, especially an obstacle to physical purity.
Fundamentally speaking, spiritual practice is to cultivate karma, and it is to cultivate the karma of liberation. The so-called karma of liberation is the karma that stops reincarnation. If it is said that the affectation of cause and effect is reincarnation, then non-affectation and non-reincarnation is liberation.
Life in this world leads to affectation of cause and effect, as long as the affliction is not eliminated, this affliction to drive karma and reincarnation is endless. Therefore, spiritual practice is to cut off afflictions. When the afflictions are cut off, the reincarnation of karma will no longer be continued.
So, you ask yourself, does secular life bother you less or more? If there are less and less afflictions, it is the Path of Liberation. If the afflictions do not become less and less, that is the path to reincarnation.
Going to the Pure Land is asking for rebirth. Going to the Pure Land is not liberation, but the continuation of the practice in another place. In addition, it depends on the understanding of the Pure Land. If understand the Pure Land out of the wisdom, such as the unification of body and the Pure Land, Pure Land of Dharmakāya, such a Pure Land is to practice along the Path of Liberation.
Q: Can you briefly talk about the change of thoughts from the 1st Jhāna to the 4th Jhāna; for example, at the beginning it should be distracted, and then after entering the First Jhāna, there is Vitarka (applied thought) and Vicara (sustained thought); the Second Jhāna there is no Vitarka but Vicara, and this sustained thought must be still based on the sense of touch of the breath; what is the thought of the Third Jhāna with no Vitarka or Vicara, and what is the thought in the Fourth Jhāna? Thank you.
A: Please search for my writings, “Structured Spiritual Practice,” the second section, how to practice meditation.
Q: I’ve seen it. I understand both taking and staying with the mark. My problem is that I have been aware of the sense of touch, and with the fineness of the breath, the sense of touch has become subtle. Then to a certain extent, let go of the concept of breath (because when the concept exists, the senses of touch for inhale and exhale are not the same). As soon as the concept is abandoned, it seems that the sense of touch is gone, and then I entered a stage of knowing nothing. It should be drowsiness, and sometimes it doesn’t look like drowsiness and I can’t be certain. My question is, even if the breath is very weak, I still have to be aware of the sense of touch, even if the touch is very weak, should I still be aware of this sense of touch? Then, after the nasal breath has stopped, how can you perceive this sense of touch? Thank you for your advice.
A: After the breath has stopped, there is still a realm. Where there is a realm, there is sense of touch (do not think that there has to be a body to have sense of touch, this is a confused view. There is no body in the realm of the Fourth Jhāna. But there is still the realm, which is the sense of touch. Feel it from your mind.) How to perceive? As long as you are awake, you are in the awareness.
You must be sober in meditation. In good meditation, the more you practice, the more sober you become, and your insight becomes sharper and sharper.
Q: I have a question. When counting breaths, didn’t you say that you should count to more than 600? So the mind is divided at this time? While counting, you should be aware of the sense of touch at the same time. There is another problem: meditation today can be simply divided into two kinds: one is simply sitting and thinking about nothing, which some people call the wonderful method of doing nothing, and the other is the sober method advocated by the brothers and bhikkhus here. Of course, there is also meditation by minding the Buddha. Let’s not discuss it here. Are the first two meditation methods feasible? Or what are the advantages and disadvantages? I think Master Wulun can achieve this within one year. It is must be something more than just sitting alone. It’s my personal opinion, please kindly let me know! Thank you everyone!
A: Counting the breath is a convenient method. In addition to watching the breath, add a guardrail of counting the breath (to prevent the mind from running away and forgetting about watching the breath) to help calm the mind. When your mind is stable, you don’t need to count your breath. Just watch your breath.
There is a difference in the practice of sitting silently and staying at one-pointedness. There are also differences in their views. Sitting in meditation is one way to the end, and you can practice this method until you are liberated (but it must be practiced based on the right view of Prajna wisdom). It is the method practicing Samadhi and Wisdom at the same pace.
Staying at one-pointedness and reaching liberation is a method with ordered practicing stages. Four Jhānas and four formless Jhānas, and the Nirodha-Samapatti, leaving the Three Realms one after another in order.
There is not necessarily which is better or worse. It is up to the practitioner whether he/she can meet the requirements of the particular method.
There is no contradiction between the two. You can switch between them. Even in one session of meditation, you can change between the two methods.
In fact, it is not of much use to discuss these. People’s consciousness is controlled by affliction. People with heavy afflictions, even if they have the Dharma in front of them, will have a wrong understanding. The most important thing for a spiritual practitioner is to experience it, keep abiding by the precepts and never retreat from spiritual practice, let the mind be indifferent, suppress the afflictions, and make the mind leave the Three Realms. Practice is the only correct way to learn Dharma.
- Eliminate the sexual desire
Q: Master Wulun said that after sexual desire is eliminated, the mind is always clear, and the Qi is contained in the mind. It is not very clear to me, whether needs to be aware of it from time to time? What do you mean, there is no Jing generated? Where does the energy go when the mind is pure? I’m talking about the situation where ordinary people with no practice and no access to meridians. Also, why do I feel that for people who meditate, there personality are not that open? Can the spirituality lost by adultery be restored? Thank you, brother.
A: That was my reply in another post. How come it’s here.
What I said is to absorb the Qi in the mind, and unify the mind and Qi, so that the Qi is pure and not lustful. This requires understanding what mind is and what Qi is. Then it’s easy to understand.
When I say Qi, I mean awareness. The mind is knowing. Incorporate awareness and knowing into one another. There is knowledge in awareness, awareness in knowing, the two are inseparable, the “watch” of the same entering and doing nothing, always not letting go. In this way, the Jing & Qi & Shen are stable and easy to surpass the lust. This is actually the Taoism Tianyuan Neidan practice, and it feels a bit inappropriate to put it here. If you can practice it, then practice, but don’t worry if you can’t practice it. This in itself requires certain savviness to understand and experience.
(Editor’s note: sexual desire is the enemy of meditation, and you must maintain no leakage it in order to keep the Samadhi concentration without retrogression.)
Q: I would like to ask brother a question: originally, when I was meditating, I emptied my mind and then counted my breath. I didn’t pay attention to anything, but I found that my eyebrows would tighten and the top of my head would be very uncomfortable. Later, I read some guidance articles and said that I should focus on my lower abdomen or the tip of my nose, etc., but I felt that if I focused on something, I would not be able to enter that more silent state. Only by emptying my mind can I enter that state (I don’t contemplate the Nadis like some of the brothers). I do not know what your situation is. If you can give me some advice. Thank you, Namo Amitabha!
A: Your situation is normal. There should be nothing wrong with your method. But to meditate is to watch the breath. You shouldn’t go where you feel comfortable and where you don’t feel comfortable (if you feel anything, you’re distracted). This tension from the brow to the top of the head is to some extent caused by concentration leading to the accumulation of Qi (energy) in the head. This is not a problem in itself. And there is a positive linkage between the stability of meditation and the agglomeration of Qi. So you don’t have to deal with it. But when you finish, caution is needed. It is necessary to lower the Qi, otherwise the accumulation of Qi in the head will form virtual heat. Lead to obstacles in next meditation. If the virtual heat is serious, there will be serious physical problems. Such as gum bleeding, hematemesis, spermatorrhea and so on. So it needs to be treated with caution.
You need to deal with this Qi before you finish the meditation. The method is to get out of meditation and into a normal state of relaxation. Relax your whole body. Massage the head to relax the tense parts, massage the legs, and keep your attention on the feet for a while. It’s best not to open your eyes in the middle.
In this way, there will be no such problems.
In the Buddhist method, it is mainly through the walking meditation to deal with this problem. That is to say, after you finish the sitting meditation, you have to walk for 10-30 minutes. Focus on your feet. In this way, the Qi will come down.