The Bodhisatta's Practice of Breath Retention - a comparitive study

In order to link this essay to some of the suttas in SuttaCentral I place it here.

Grzegorz Polak discusses the history of the non-Buddhist meditative practices with an analysis of the practice of breath retention as described in MN12, MN36, MN85 and MN100 and it’s side effects in light of various practices in Vedic/Hindu and Jain scriptures as well as modern accounts of the effects of these practices. He shows in this essay that these practices may not have been strictly Jain (Bronkhorst) or Brahmanical (Wynne) but have been part of an altogether other samaṇa movement. He also believes that Uddaka Rāmaputta was a samaṇa.

Grzegorz compares these practices with descriptions in MN14 and MN101, where they are attributed to the Jains. And he looks at description in MN144, SN35.87 and AN6.56 where the side effects of this practice are used to describe a state of a terminally sick person.


Is there any relationship between, Bodhisatta’s breath retention practice and Modern Pranayama in Hindu Yoga?
Paper seems not accessible

There is indeed and there is an interesting account of that in the paper.
In order to access it you need to sign up to Academia.


Thanks, Ayya, for this link. I’ve printed the 21 page paper, and now have this article as an accompaniment for lunch today.


I’m glad I’m able to make a positive contribution to your lunch-experience :smile:
I’ve downloaded a few more and if there are any interesting ones I’ll post them here.


…gives you some idea of how exciting my life is… :slight_smile:


I suppose I hadn’t realized that this was controversial. I certainly assumed it myself. He was an ascetic spiritual teacher. What else might he have been, in that time and place, if not a samaṇa?

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The other option is that he was a brahminical teacher associated with the views of the Upanishads. This is the view of Alexander Wynne I believe.

Of course, these are not mutually exclusive. He could have been brahminical or influenced by brahmanism and by the samana movement. We will never know for sure.