'Do nothing' meditation and EBT

Hi,
I have started ‘do nothing’ meditation practice which recently evolved quite naturally for me.
I know there is a lot of writings about zazen but how this practice looks comparing with EBT?

I came across the sutta about how NOT meditate (sorry I can’t find the link) which basically says that all practice leading to wholesome states are correct (and opposite). In my opinion it brings me peace, relaxation and equanimity. Also I think I remember from Ajahn Chah book that it is the quickest way to Nibbana (could be in different context though).

Some other teachers say that it is not a meditation, just dreaming(lazy approach to practice). Some say it is a form of vipassana practice…

Thank you
Jarek

MN 20 - specifically method 4

Also, perhaps alot of, if not all, the mentions of viraga:

…give an indication of the relevance of the strategy you 've mentioned.

Do what works for you :anjal:

Thank you very much Kay. It is very helpful, although method 5 surprised me…I would let them pass, but will try the ‘beating approach’:). Very useful sutta as thoughts are the most prominent obstacles during this meditation (less body and feelings).

Viraga- feels more like dispassion than indifference, probably (indifference feels as ‘don’t care’)

Nice to have some EBT justification:) Thank you

1 Like

I’ve heard Ajahn Brahm state that it’s only to be used as an absolute last resort and is generally not recommended!

1 Like

I think this is the basis of ajhan Brahm’s mindfulness of breath meditation. I think it leads to calm and serenity and possibly abandoning of the 5 hindrances. I doubt it would lead to seeing through ignorance, as in seeing the arising and passing away of the five aggregates leading to insight. It is good to have an object of meditation, to see the aggregates in, such as the breath, if insight was required.

with metta

1 Like

I believe it does do this…and I think this is backed up by the Anapanasati Sutta. MN 118

Yes, this is why Ajahn Brahm teaches the way he does, so we can feel what this is like. And the idea is that because this happens, and the hindrances and a whole bunch of other stuff disappears, we are experiencing passing away and when they return later, we’re experience arising…

So…

…yes, Ajahn Brahm does teach this.

3 Likes

As long as you address the roadblocks and embrace the path in its entirety, the dependent origination of awakening does not require you to do much.

If I may suggest, check suttas AN10.2, AN11.2, SN12.23, AN4.12 and AN9.1 and try to keep in mind through your day the landmarks they offer us to make sense of our own journey.

It is amazing when you find that indeed, it is only when remorse and anxiety has been left behind through the embracing of virtue, kindness and generosity that contentment finds a way to kick in, allowing for higher and more and more ennobling elements of joy, calmness, happiness, stillness and insight to find room within your heart…

:anjal:

7 Likes

The way I understand Noble Eightfold Path is about doing something.
Especially the right effort.
Like newly born babies do nothing but it is not what Buddha taught.

2 Likes

Thank you Gabriel, that’s beautiful.
All these suttas are wonderfully explain by Ajahn Brahmali in his 9 days Sutta retreat Dhamma talks which I really love. BTW that’s Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Brahmali teachings which brought me to this forum😃Just keep precepts, hang out with good friends, listen to Dhamma talks (or read EBT) and meditate - and happiness will come.
Which is what I wish you, me and all, as soon as possible :ok_woman:

3 Likes

More and more I’m becoming convinced that most of us…and by that I mean me mostly…have been viewing Samma Vayama all wrong…

I’ve heard Ajahn Brahm say that some where in the Vinaya, there’s a passage where the word Vayama is being used and that it’s pointing to the meaning of “standing still”. Oh heck…I hope I’m not misrepresenting him with my dodgy memory! But I’m pretty certain that at the end of the day…he was trying to point out that Vayama is not terribly active.

The activity is there in the 8 Fold Path. And I think it’s mostly in the early factors preceding, and therefore conditioning, Vayama. I think by the time one gets to Vayama, one must already have a pretty good predisposition to naturally (so not so actively) incline towards wholesome states; having said this, I do still think that we have the power to redirect the mind and that we can get better and better at this the more we Practice.

Only I think as far as meditation practice is concerned, we have to learn how to be super subtle in this activity of redirection. It takes guts, faith and a pile of patience to just sit there and not interfere too much. But I do believe this is a way of practice that can be quite fun and quite useful too. :slight_smile:

I’ve also heard Ajahn Brahm talk about Viriya (energy) and how it’s similiar to the word “hero” and so one must use a heroic energy…the kind of energy a hero uses when she puts her life on the line. Sometimes I feel I have to use such courage to stop myself from interfering and manipulating my restless, recalcitrant, highly rebellious and contrary mind! To just “leave it alone” as Ajahn Brahm used to say a lot! Then I started to see that it was an act of kindness to myself as well, to just leave myself alone, to stop poking and prodding and trying to get myself to change and making myself feel miserable because all this made me feel such a useless, guilt ridden failure!! Lol…it’s much nicer I’ve found, to let myself be like this sometimes…the path of least resistance is what one must follow when one’s mind has a mind of it’s own! :smile:

Right Effort, from SN 45.8:

“And what, bhikkhus, is right effort? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu generates desire for the nonarising of unarisen evil unwholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates desire for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states…. He generates desire for the arising of unarisen wholesome states…. He generates desire for the maintenance of arisen wholesome states, for their nondecay, increase, expansion, and fulfilment by development; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. This is called right effort.

I view the Path as being sequential and so Samma Vayama must enhance Samma Sati. Therefore, it cannot be something too active…otherwise it may lead to Samma Restlessness! Lol… Well…it does with me anyway.

4 Likes

Oh…I thought this might be fun to have a look into. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Please read the following article to get the detailed explanation about right effort.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-vayamo/index.html

1 Like

Just to share my happiness with you: I am going to see Ajahn Brahm in London tonight:))
and on Saturday will spend the whole day retreat with him :)))))))))))

Looks like there is a misunderstanding that I am doing nothing ,just chill out:). That’s not true. I do quite a lot of ‘work’ on Sila, Sati and other types of meditation (mainly metta).
Like in the string example there is time to push and time to let go, time to work and time to enjoy. This particular meditation really teach me how to ‘let go’ and also you can investigate this thing inside ,which can’t rest and always looking for something to do. Fascinating for me, really. And all of this is much more visible and clear with just silence as a background.
Very joyful:). As Ajahn Brahm says: we are human beings not human doings:)

and NO, it is NOT effortless

Much metta
Jarek

2 Likes

Oh…here’s another EBT reference…

SN 22.59

This is a famous, and as I understand it, very early, Sutta on the characteristics of non-self. It offers us reflections that encourage us to notice that we aren’t in control…one of the consequences of this reflection is that we start to “chill out” :sunglasses: a bit more…and, you know…relax… :slightly_smiling_face:

@Jarek It’s been fun remembering the relevant EBTs. Thanks for starting such a useful, positive thread.

4 Likes

Great thread :slight_smile:
I’ve been listening to Ajahn Brahm’s Word of the Buddha rains retreat talks and the thing that has struck me most is just how much each path factor rests on the earlier one. This is also true in the Gradual Training.

When he got to sammā vāyamo, which he is translating as Right Endeavour, it was clear to me that having practiced right motivation was important.

I particularly like his translation for AN4.13

And what is the endeavour of restraint? When you see an object, you do not let yourself get sucked in by marks and features that generate defilements.

For abandoning he has

You do not indulge in an arisen thought of aversion…harming… whenever bad, unwholesome states arise; you abandon them, let them go, renounce them, and bring them to cessation.

@anon29387788 on this recording, Ajahn mentioned vāyamo was related to stretching. As in; the effort should be a stretch but not so much you pull a muscle. I haven’t heard him talk about standing still.

5 Likes

Thanks, I have never heard him say this. :slight_smile:

I just checked the recording and he says

It literally means… ayama means like stretching …stretching noise… that’s like āyāma. It Is stretching, but not stressful stretching.

https://suttacentral.net/define/āyāma

Later he says

the endeavour of restraint is a ‘not-doing’

3 Likes

oooh…nice…

This is lovely.

:sparkles: :mudra::+1:t6:

Yeah I totally agree. But isn’t it interesting that what directly precedes Right Effort is Right Livelihood?

It’s like Right Intention/Motivation has infused every aspect of our being (Right Speech and Right Action) and so much so that it’s beginning to make an impact even on that part of our lives that perhaps most of us wouldn’t do if we didn’t get paid to do it! Basically it’s everywhere and is like the awesomest Sila…and then, as a result…my guess is that Right Effort becomes much more effortless.

But what’s even cooler to contemplate is what precedes Right Motivation…? Right View. And I reckon the more you get your View…well…“Right”…the more understanding/wisdom you will bring to everything. I think this has a massive influence on alot of stuff but I think of particular importance is its impact on our ability to forgive ourselves…because I think the more Correctly (the “Right” part of Right View) we see things, the more likely we’re going to be influenced by Truth/Dhamma/Wisdom and the more likely we’re going to be able to get the big picture View and see ourselves and others with extraordinary tolerance. To the point that we don’t get hung up by things like guilt. And I really think the absence of things like guilt, the presence of understanding and forgiveness, are a massive part of Right Motivation and therefore…again…contribute, several Path Factors down the line, to making Right Effort effortless.

:grin: Pasanna I love talking about things like this. It just makes me happy. Thank you so much for this inspiring and beautiful conversation. :smile: I’m loving it!

Flowers for you out of gratitude: :bouquet: :cherry_blossom: :white_flower: :rosette: :rose: :hibiscus: :sunflower: :blossom: :tulip:

4 Likes

Oh that’s just so good.

I really like how these translations can actually be used in the practical side of well…Practice!

Not only that…I find them really beautiful to consider. Thanks again :anjal:

4 Likes

@anon29387788 your enthusiasm is lovely :smile:

It really is great to look at the path in this way isn’t it?! It goes back to suttas like AN10.2 were success on the path is inevitable. If we get our view straight then motivation flows naturally. If the motivation is right then our sīla is easy. If our sīla is easy then we have non-regret and our effort is effortless!

So often we get caught in the higher path factors when having a solid foundation makes things so much easier:grinning:

2 Likes