The weakness of breathing as meditation object is eventually it will cease or be soft enough that we can’t sense it and breathing cessation is meaningless
observing breathing/anapana is a meaningless effort it doesn’t lead to any jhana and even though there is a sutta that tells us that by mindfulness of breathing even cessation of perception and feeling can be entered but I doubt the authenticity of the sutta
Vitakka/vicara is different its cessation is not meaningless in fact its cessation means we are already in 2nd jhana which is what buddha described as peaceful abiding conductive to the ending of defilement
Hence my question
I am still learning english too I hope you can understand me metta
Each jhana step has a characteristic to be seen as undesirable and for the first jhana it is vitakka and vicara. This step-by-step strategy involves both serenity and insight meditation forms, for it is insight or reviewing the jhana that identifies vitakka and vicara as present or absent. Vitakka and vicara are not included in the 40 subjects of serenity meditation.
"And furthermore, the monk has his theme of reflection well in hand, well attended to, well-considered, well-tuned by means of discernment.”—-AN 5.28
But it is possible to take insight as a vehicle:
“The disciple dwells in contemplation of phenomena, namely, of the six internal and external sense bases. He knows the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tangibles, the mind and mental objects; and he knows as well the fetter that arises in dependence on them. He understands how the unarisen fetter arises, how the arisen fetter is abandoned, and how the abandoned fetter does not arise again in the future.”—DN 22, Maha- satipatthana sutta, fourth foundation.
When the mind achieves one-pointedness on the (serenity) meditation subject, joy arises. That’s why joy is the characteristic of the second jhana. When the mind achieves one-pointedness, inner dialogue is naturally extinguished. Freedom from speech!
Hi there and welcome to the community, thanks for posting!
Have you read Ven Anālayo’s book on the topic? He asserts that absolutely breath as an object can lead into absorption (the jhanas). With any object though it is going to disappear at some point. As progress through the stages continue the object or awareness naturally shifts.
With anapana specifically, the first tetrad is focused on breath/body, second on feeling tone, and the third moves to seeing the citta. That movement is not to focus on thought itself (the contents) but to see the mind (the container). Breath is maintained in the background as it settles and calms the mind but eventually it does fade even from the background.
Imagine it’s like you are going on a hiking trip through a jungle, across a stream, and up to a mountain peak. First you need a machete to get through the thicket. Then a raft to cross a stream, and then a walking stick to hike up a mountain. The tool changes at different points throughout the journey but just because there isn’t a single tool for the whole journey does not mean that we reject all tools.
I’m not a meditation teacher and we are not to give each other practice advice on this forum. I do not know what you personally need.
That said, in Ānāpānassati the object can move from breath to mind itself according to Analayo. There are also some teachers or instances where it might make sense for the object to become piti or the experience of Metta. It depends on the practice, student, etc. Thus have I heard
Maybe it’s possible to use vitakka and vicāra as meditation objects as a form of mindfulness of dhammā (4th satipatthāna). It can be quite tricky to observe the mind itself, but you can observe the mind. You may need a really quite deep level of concentration and clarity to even be able to notice these subtle mechanisms of the mind, however.
Vitakkka and vicara in the first jhana are the factors that evaluate and manage joy as it arises in the body. Mental seclusion is being established. This accords with the first and second tetrads of the Anapanasati sutta, from body to feeling. In the second jhana, joy is established within and doesn’t need management (AN 5.28). Not only that, but in the second jhana the mind transcends the verbal level. The development of the jhanas in AN 5.28 parallels the progression of body, feeling, mind in the Anapanasati sutta.
Even in the second, third, and fourth jhana periodically it’s necessary to withdraw to the verbal level to evaluate the jhana: