Meditation Discussion Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: J0rrit on October 31, 2013, 10:14:54 AM

Title: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: J0rrit on October 31, 2013, 10:14:54 AM
I would like to open a discussion about the two methods I know that are used for whole body breathing awareness. I would call them the Ajahn Brahm vs the Thanissaro Bhikku method, because they are described by these two guys in the books 'Mindfulness, bliss and beyond, a meditator's handbook' and in 'each and every breath' by Ajahn Brahm and Thanissaro Bhikku, respectively.

The methods:

Ajahn Brahm:

He describes the words 'breathing in-out sensitive to the entire body' and 'breathing in-out calming the body facrications' in this book. He says that here is meant with the body the breath-body and not the entire body. He gives for explanations that the Buddha called the breath a body among bodies and that in the first couple steps of Anapanasati the object of meditation (the breath) is simplified (from knowing the breath as long or short to just knowing you are breathing) and that it would be unlogical to make it more complicated in step 3 or 4 in the Anapanasati to suddenly be sentivive to the entire body. He also explains that 'calming bodily fabrications' means calming the breath-body, and the rest of the body will follow. The breath is NOT experienced in only the abdomen or nasal cavity, but at the points where you 'know you are breathing in or out'. So think 'how do I know that I'm breathing in or out?', focus on that! From my own experience this includes a combination of abdomen and nasal perceptions. But don't think about where you are sensitive to, just be sensitive to the breath.

Thanissaro Bhikku:

He is talking about the whole body. So 'breathing in-out sensitive to the entire body' and 'breathing in-out calming the body facrications' means sensitive to the entire body, and not only the breath. 'Calming bodily fabrications' means literally calming all of the bodily stress-points and be sensitive to the entire body. This method also includes visualizing the breath coming out of every pore in the body, and in his book he describes more of these visualizing stuff. I am sceptible about this because I have the feeling visualizing stuff (an example is that he describes visualizing the words from someone else floating around you instead of coming towards you in an agressive communication) is not experiencing things as they really are.

In short: the two methods I know for whole 'body' breathing are sensitive to the 'breath body' or sensitive to the 'entire body' and calming the 'breath body' or calming the 'entire body'.

Hopefully we can start a nice discussion here. I use the Ajahn Brahm method at the moment, but I'm trying to find out which one is the 'right' method and what are the pros and cons for each method. I am also very interested in which method you use, and why you think this one is better than the other etc.

Metta,
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Masauwu on October 31, 2013, 10:56:27 AM
        Hi J0rrit,

        In my opinion, as long as you make mindfulness (continuous present moment awareness) your priority, there is no wrong way to meditate. All these teachers provide valid methods and there is a wide range of nuances a practice session can take.

        Meditation as i understand it is all about remaining mindful and relaxed. Then you add the flavor you intend for the particular session: either focus attention on (any) one thing continuously (the samatha direction) or calmly witness any stimuli from the 6 sense doors and investigate the 3 characteristics in them (the vipassana direction), or any one of hundreds of ratios between the two flavors with the added variations of the body/bodies (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.nysa.html) that you choose as meditation objects. It's entirely up to you as long as you maintain mindfulness.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Renze on October 31, 2013, 01:02:10 PM
I think this comes down to different interpretations of the Anapanasati Sutta, one word actually. This is what Thanissaro says about his translation (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html)):

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The commentaries insist that "body" here means the breath, but this is unlikely in this context, for the next step — without further explanation — refers to the breath as "bodily fabrication." If the Buddha were using two different terms to refer to the breath in such close proximity, he would have been careful to signal that he was redefining his terms (as he does below, when explaining that the first four steps in breath meditation correspond to the practice of focusing on the body in and of itself as a frame of reference). The step of breathing in and out sensitive to the entire body relates to the many similes in the suttas depicting jhana as a state of whole-body awareness

And this makes sense to me. The only way to be aware of the breath is through the bodily sensations. I've been working with Thanissaro's method for a while now, and it works for me. Before that, the only thing I'd do is try to keep my awareness on the breath. Now I learned to also expand that awareness as much as I can, relaxing any tension I can feel along the way. I'm much more engaged in the object of meditation, and it prevents me from getting into this dull trance-like state of concentration.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: J0rrit on October 31, 2013, 01:23:48 PM
Yes, but if you follow only the breath, than your concentration/awareness on the breath is better becauase you don't divide your awareness/concentration, so it's 100% for the breath instead of 80/20 or something. That was my experience when I tried the 'entire body breathing'. Also, when I started this method from Ajahn Brahm (so focussing on how do you that you are breathing, which than contrains all the bodily sensations which make up the breath, so only the upper half of your body, not your legs or something) I became close to experiencing Jhana with the nimitta method (just at home, so not the best environment) and my Vipassana insights of impermanence, self-less and unsatisfactory got a boost. So there is definitely something in this method I would say. When I get enough concentration on the breath with this method, the breath expands to everywhere so that all of my body is breathing, and this happens in itself. So I guess in the end the same thing happens?

Could you maybe explain how you begin your meditation and how/where do you expand your awareness than ?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Renze on October 31, 2013, 01:59:06 PM
Basically what Thanissaro describes. I start with finding a breath that is relaxed and comfortable. I then 'scan' my body part by part looking for tension, and relaxing tension as much as possible. After that, I bring my awareness to my abdomen area, and from there I try to observe all the physical sensations that are part of the breath, in the entire body. I chose the abdomen because that's the easiest spot to feel the breath and expand my awareness from. The nostrils are also an easy spot to feel the breath, but very hard to expand awareness to the rest of the body from. To be honest, I don't feel my breath in the back of my skull or spine very well. But I can feel a lot of energy going up and down my arms and legs, which could be blood flowing or something.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Johann (Hanzze) on November 04, 2013, 04:29:12 AM
That might be useful in addition, as it is really not about giving things a name or even nail them down, but to get ride of objectification step by step. Very Zen at least, but step by step, so just Zen at the point where it is proper:

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De-perception (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/deperception_en.html), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 5pp./14KB)
    When we sit down to meditate we usually bring along a host of assumptions about what our perceptions are, what our experience of meditation is like, and what it should be. As meditators, our task is to learn to ask the right questions — questions that will help us break through layer after layer of these false preconceived notions. This article, based on a Dhamma talk, is full of practical advice for meditators of all levels.

The feelings on the way are just used to bring you to deeper concentration, it's not for the sake of this or that sensation that vipassana (or insight meditation) is made even through it is a good motivation and a way to stay with it.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on November 04, 2013, 07:58:35 AM
What is this 'breath body'? It sounds like a fabricated idea to me. Also I see no logical confusion in moving from awareness of long or short breaths to awareness of all body sensations  created by breathing. Actually the opposite - it makes sense to go from the course to a more fine sensation.

We can only sense the breath through bodily sensations. If sensing the whole body breathing method doesn't seem to work for you it could be the case that more time  would be well spent on courser sensations and establishing mindfulness or alternatively that you were somewhere following a conception/thought about the breath rather than the breath.

And unless someone can point out this 'breath body' to me I am convinced by following it you are surely following a conception and not sensate experience.

Kindly,

Matthew
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: J0rrit on November 04, 2013, 12:05:01 PM
What is this 'breath body'? It sounds like a fabricated idea to me. Also I see no logical confusion in moving from awareness of long or short breaths to awareness of all body sensations  created by breathing. Actually the opposite - it makes sense to go from the course to a more fine sensation.

We can only sense the breath through bodily sensations. If sensing the whole body breathing method doesn't seem to work for you it could be the case that more time  would be well spent on courser sensations and establishing mindfulness or alternatively that you were somewhere following a conception/thought about the breath rather than the breath.

And unless someone can point out this 'breath body' to me I am convinced by following it you are surely following a conception and not sensate experience.

Kindly,

Matthew

It's not a fabricated idea. You just ask yourself this question: How do I know that I'm breathing (in or out) ? And than focus on that ! After a while you will not be sensitive anymore to the individual parts of bodily sensations that make the breath, but it will be sensed as just a sort of breath energy (the breath body). I also had the idea that the Buddha himself called the breath a body among the bodies ?

I think this is less a conception that the full body breathing awareness method is, because Thanissaro Bhikku describes a lot about imagining that the breath comes out of every pore in the body and so fort. Correct me if I'm wrong please,

greets
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Johann (Hanzze) on November 04, 2013, 12:15:25 PM
What is this 'breath body'? It sounds like a fabricated idea to me. Also I see no logical confusion in moving from awareness of long or short breaths to awareness of all body sensations  created by breathing. Actually the opposite - it makes sense to go from the course to a more fine sensation.

We can only sense the breath through bodily sensations. If sensing the whole body breathing method doesn't seem to work for you it could be the case that more time  would be well spent on courser sensations and establishing mindfulness or alternatively that you were somewhere following a conception/thought about the breath rather than the breath.

And unless someone can point out this 'breath body' to me I am convinced by following it you are surely following a conception and not sensate experience.

Kindly,

Matthew

Matthew, we "must" be that we train always in the sphere of concepts, if not out training is finished. As people have long time perception of what breath is, it's good to try another concept, to get ride of it. That is all it is about.
If you get caught in any idea of breath body at least, that means you take any body for real and lasting, this is actually the same game.
As far as I had seen, Ven. Thanissaro does give it just as a sample and as he always pointed out, (read for example "Joy of effort (http://www.zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/joyeffort_en.html)", it is very good in that regard):

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The Buddha recommended sixteen steps in dealing with the breath. The first two involve straightforward instructions. The rest raise questions to be explored. In this way, the breath becomes a vehicle for exercising your ingenuity in solving the problems of the mind, and exercising your sensitivity in gauging the results.

Sensual experience is a concept at least as well. So which one do you like to start? What feeling (sensation) is we, can see in the chain of depending co-arising (contact + identification/not knowing => comes up to what we normally take as feeling.)

Actually I can not sense anything with the body. Do you know what I mean? And that is a especially the point where he likes to lead with this concept, away for the conceptional border of body straight back to mind, using a finer body at least to be able to do so.

Try to find the breath body, that is for sure a good training.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Johann (Hanzze) on November 04, 2013, 12:17:29 PM
It's not a fabricated idea.
It is also, J0rrit. It is.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on November 04, 2013, 08:17:34 PM
...
Matthew, we "must" be that we train always in the sphere of concepts, if not out training is finished.

This is contradictory both to my  understanding and experience of practice/Dhamma.

Agreed we start from concepts. BUT, the actual practice is 100% the opposite - it is lettting go of concepts, it is experiencing the now, the moment, directly and progressively with greater intensity of reality through the silencing of the thinking/conceptual mind.

Only in silence do we really know.

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As people have long time perception of what breath is, it's good to try another concept, to get ride of it. That is all it is about.

Peception and concept are oppposing experiences. Most people do not breathe conceptually. Again your words are contrary to my experience of reality. Most people breathe paying no attention. It is only when they start to meditate they get caught in concepts of what the breathing should be - a manifestation of grasping ego. Getting caught in concepts of what breathing should be is a common experience many have overcome by the simple realisation that letting go - and not control - is the simple heart of the practice.

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Sensual experience is a concept at least as well.

the words "sensual experience" are concepts. SENSING EXPERIENCE is absolutely non-conceptual.

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Actually I can not sense anything with the body. Do you know what I mean?

Sort of ... in reality you can only experience/sense anything with body and mind. no mind no experience/sense, no body, no experience/sense.

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Try to find the breath body, that is for sure a good training.

No, that for sure is a mistaken view. Try to find the real experience that lays beyong the conceptual/thinking mind - that is a good training. Trying to find another conceptualised view of reality is contrary to the path.

Kindly,

Matthew
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Johann (Hanzze) on November 05, 2013, 02:58:34 AM
...
Matthew, we "must" be that we train always in the sphere of concepts, if not out training is finished.

This is contradictory both to my  understanding and experience of practice/Dhamma.

Agreed we start from concepts. BUT, the actual practice is 100% the opposite - it is lettting go of concepts, it is experiencing the now, the moment, directly and progressively with greater intensity of reality through the silencing of the thinking/conceptual mind.

Only in silence do we really know.
Matthew, there are many levels and there are many stages of "silence" and most of them are really not knowing at all. There is no such as thinking without concepts, its just that concepts may be more inherent to each others and path leading.
If you tell, that you are on a level of no concepts, that you have reached the deathless already, even then, when you come down to earth conditions, you need concepts to communicate, explain...

So to say its contradictory to the own understanding and to the experience is total ok, but it would be good to proof them. Be sure that you are always on the level of concepts even in a fine-material world (awareness).

May teacher, including the Buddha him self heavily warn for bark wood, bark wood praising and the so called "householder equanimity (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/mn/mn.137.than_en.html#household-eq6)"

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As people have long time perception of what breath is, it's good to try another concept, to get ride of it. That is all it is about.

Peception and concept are oppposing experiences. Most people do not breathe conceptually. Again your words are contrary to my experience of reality. Most people breathe paying no attention. It is only when they start to meditate they get caught in concepts of what the breathing should be - a manifestation of grasping ego. Getting caught in concepts of what breathing should be is a common experience many have overcome by the simple realisation that letting go - and not control - is the simple heart of the practice.
Where should be the different between perception and concept, that seems to be a gross conception-ism. Actually it is very often that people who believe that they walk a way of fact are most bound to concepts, that means they believe but seldom are able to watch.
The only time when normal people have no concept of breath is when they are not aware of it and this not by letting go, but by distracted and confused. The so called are of "sukha-dukkha-vedana", immense dullness which is often meant as silence. 

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Sensual experience is a concept at least as well.

the words "sensual experience" are concepts. SENSING EXPERIENCE is absolutely non-conceptual.

If that is so, why you don't have the beath 24h in mind. Or do the air and the breath disapeare. It's because you are busy to build (sankhara) other stuff and so it does not exist. What ever you build comes into being. So it is concept and the idea of concept as well.
Sensing and experiences are self made, or would you like to call them real?

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Actually I can not sense anything with the body. Do you know what I mean?

Sort of ... in reality you can only experience/sense anything with body and mind. no mind no experience/sense, no body, no experience/sense.

That is you idea and of course it is dangerous to train the uposatha of the jains (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.070.than_en.html#jains).
When I say actually that it was meant as actually. Of course it is not a useful concept on a level where still deep caught in sensuality.

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Try to find the breath body, that is for sure a good training.

No, that for sure is a mistaken view. Try to find the real experience that lays beyong the conceptual/thinking mind - that is a good training. Trying to find another conceptualised view of reality is contrary to the path.

Kindly,

Matthew

That is good phantasies (concept, perception), but I am not sure it such ideas of beyond on such a level are very honest to one self. There is no such as reality in the sensual world, that is all agreed and conceptional.
Buddha gave concepts, the whole path is concept, a good and leading to liberation and not to better concepts or other concepts (perceptions).

At least, don't forget the arrow ("I will not walk the holly path till you point out..."), as it could hinder you and its lost another time.
If that concept does not fit to you, take another, but don't stay with your concepts ideas and that is the whole point and reason, as intellectual tended people stick horrible to their ideas and concepts where a breath body has no anchor. They like real bodies...

Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on November 16, 2013, 07:55:20 PM
According to Nanamoli's analysis of the Anapanasati Sutta and commentaries:

Whole body of breath = beginning, middle and end of the in breath and beginning, middle and end of the out breath (at the nostrils)
Calming the bodily formations = gross breath vs subtle breath (at the nostrils)

Gross means feeling the breath very strongly.  If you just put down a heavy load, the in and out breaths are so heavy you can hardly contain them.  But after resting the breaths become quieter.  For example if you lay down after taking a bath and become completely still, the breath can become even difficult to discern.  Are you even breathing? 

If your breaths become still to the point that you can hardly tell whether you are breathing or not and you then task your mind with discerning the beginning, middle and end of each in and out breath you have begun to work at the subtle level. 

This is what is meant by the whole body of breath and calming the bodily formations.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Renze on November 16, 2013, 08:49:57 PM
If I focus exclusively at the nostrils, I'm starting to feel this pressure on my forehead. Some people link this to a third eye chakra or something, but I think it's the muscles in my face that are getting tense. It's uncomfortable and distracting. If I focus on the body as a whole, as Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu suggests, that really helps with keeping my body relaxed. And with a relaxed body, it's much easier to stay focused on the breath. So Thanissaro's interpretation of the Anapanasati Sutta works really well for me.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: J0rrit on December 23, 2013, 01:45:13 PM
I think the Thanissaro Bhikku method is full of concepts; ' imagining breathing out of this and that body part and through your pores'. There is a lot of this kind of stuff in his technique. This is not experiencing things as THEY are, right ?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Renze on December 23, 2013, 03:28:28 PM
What I like about his method is that it leaves room for experimentation. See where you can feel the breath, and how you feel it. Some of these things are really counter-intuitive, like sensing the breath in the back of your neck. But if you experiment a little, you might start to feel the breath through the muscles in your neck. If not, you skip that part.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Mpgkona on December 23, 2013, 09:44:41 PM
I think the Thanissaro Bhikku method is full of concepts; ' imagining breathing out of this and that body part and through your pores'. There is a lot of this kind of stuff in his technique. This is not experiencing things as THEY are, right ?

No it's not. It's fabricating things as they're NOT. It's self-delusion. However, if the end result is the same should it still not be done? IDK. Interesting dilemma though.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Renze on December 24, 2013, 08:14:11 AM
I think the Thanissaro Bhikku method is full of concepts; ' imagining breathing out of this and that body part and through your pores'. There is a lot of this kind of stuff in his technique. This is not experiencing things as THEY are, right ?

No it's not. It's fabricating things as they're NOT. It's self-delusion. However, if the end result is the same should it still not be done? IDK. Interesting dilemma though.

Every meditation technique is a form of self-delusion if you assume you are experiencing reality as it truly is.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on January 07, 2014, 03:12:37 AM
If I focus exclusively at the nostrils, I'm starting to feel this pressure on my forehead. Some people link this to a third eye chakra or something, but I think it's the muscles in my face that are getting tense. It's uncomfortable and distracting.

One of the problems with learning meditation from books is the likelihood that we skip a step or rush into certain techniques without the necessary preparation.  Before going to the nostrils, one method is to do ten minutes of walking meditation and then sit down.  After sitting down and starting seated meditation, spend time contemplating death (to develop motivation) and gladdening the mind (for the appropriate attitude) which can take up to half an hour.  Only then we proceed to the breathing technique of Anapanasati's first tetrad (witnessing longbreath, followed by short breath, then whole body of breath and finally calming the body of breath) also taking half an hour or more.  So here you have an hour's worth of meditation depending on the level of skill of the meditator.

Where I disagree with Thanissaro's interpretation is his going into the breath and then instruction to back out to the body (not just the breath).  This is incorrect and can be confirmed in the Visuddhimagga.  Any time anapanasati is practiced, the object of contemplation is the in/out breaths.  You will also confirm it yourself if you can find a teacher to help you discover the natural progression from one stage to the next.  The breath IS the body to work with.  Ana means in breath, Pana means out breath, sati means of course mindfulness.

Many teachers will help you customize the techniques to suite your needs.  Of course it depends on the school or teacher what process we should perform when doing anapanasati.  But the point I hope to make here is that we aren't to just leap into deep concentration or we can cause adverse affects like activating things that shouldn't be activated in Buddhist meditation or otherwise causing unnecessary stress.  Anapanasati is a difficult, very subtle practice.

Metta and upekkha...
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Pacific Flow on January 07, 2014, 04:57:07 AM
Wow the confusion that seems to exist around Anapanasati among many here is really stunning me. Why make things so complicated? It seems like every monk has his own interpretation of Anapanasati. I haven't tried either Ajahn Brahm's method nor that of the other monk mentioned. But one thing i can say for sure. Imagining something like the breath streaming out of one's pores and stuff like that is creating imaginations. I don't see how that could lead to either insight or right concentration.
Having read all this i really appreciate the simple and practical way of Anapanasati taught by Goenka even more! You just use the breath as an object for the training of pure concentration. It is always available and free from being an object of craving and aversion. You don't regulate anything nor do you imagine any fancy stuff like breath bodies or third eyes ect. Just the concentration on the touch of the natural breath is sufficient. Simple, effective and that way there is absolutely nothing to intellectualize or get confused about.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 07, 2014, 10:31:04 AM
Is there more to life than concentrating on a breath?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Pacific Flow on January 07, 2014, 02:37:33 PM
Is there more to life than concentrating on a breath?

Who would want to doubt that there is more to life than concentrating on a breath?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 08, 2014, 10:15:12 AM
I dunno I just find the mere act of meditating purely on the immediate breath action a bit limiting.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Pacific Flow on January 08, 2014, 11:51:13 AM
I dunno I just find the mere act of meditating purely on the immediate breath action a bit limiting.

Totally agree. If that would be all one is doing it would be limiting.
If however you use the concentration developed through this practice to explore the sensations on the entire body in a second step it makes perfect sense.
For those who practice exclusively Anapanasati for whatever reason, it would make sense to focus on more than just the touch of the breath in a limited area.

What's really important if you ask me is that you focus on something that is actually there. A reality to be observed within ones physical/mental structure. Not an object of imagination.
As long as that is the case it would be an effort worth spending time and energy on.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 09, 2014, 03:16:42 AM
Totally agree. If that would be all one is doing it would be limiting.
If however you use the concentration developed through this practice to explore the sensations on the entire body in a second step it makes perfect sense.
What if there are steps beyond the 2nd one. The further you go the harder things become to enunciate.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Pacific Flow on January 09, 2014, 07:31:15 AM
Would else could one do besides observing bodily sensations and hence the mental structure interacting with them without fabricating things? If there is anything else I am not aware of it at this point and would certainly like to learn!
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 09, 2014, 09:39:47 AM
I think after all the observing there is a further letting go which goes beyond trying to pick up on reactions of your central nervous system like breathing out your nose or noticing your abdomen move, and picks up on the essense of being alive itself. Those are just words though, it is very hard to explain.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Tathāgata on January 09, 2014, 02:26:08 PM
Hello friends.

Observation - to experience, need no entity as source… There need not be “anyone” observing, “witnessing”, or having the experience. It is the sum of what mind have wrapped itself with, using whatever is readily available. Mind itself being a phenomenon – the conditioned in contrast to that, which is hidden by the void.

There is the case, when one enters the Sphere of Infinite Space, seeing through all the realms constituing form. There is no “breathing” anymore - no ānā, no pāna, so no ānāpānasati. So one has to let go of the breath at some point, abandoning the breath as object in order to persuit higher - more subtle states of mind.

Mettā
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Sylvia1982 on January 09, 2014, 04:38:13 PM
Hello friends.

Observation - to experience, need no entity as source… There need not be “anyone” observing, “witnessing”, or having the experience. It is the sum of what mind have wrapped itself with, using whatever is readily available. Mind itself being a phenomenon – the conditioned in contrast to that, which is hidden by the void.

There is the case, when one enters the Sphere of Infinite Space, seeing through all the realms constituing form. There is no “breathing” anymore - no ānā, no pāna, so no ānāpānasati. So one has to let go of the breath at some point, abandoning the breath as object in order to persuit higher - more subtle states of mind.

Mettā

perfect. sounds very similar to the advise from a chief monk from my recent retreat
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Pacific Flow on January 16, 2014, 12:10:56 AM
Thanks DT and Tathagata for your interesting replies. I think i do understand what your saying. And i also know i haven't reached such a stage through meditation yet. Note to self: be patient, aware and observe whatever shows up.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on January 18, 2014, 03:35:06 PM
Back to the breath - there is little text based instruction that I have found that details how to identify when the conduit of the breath has done its job and when jhana has arisen so you can make it your focus.  This part of the practice really necessitates a teacher.  Even teachers however vary on allowing it to build up before moving to the jhana vs immediately letting go of the breath and moving attention to the sensations of absorption.  It appears multiple strategies work just fine as long as it's been tried and tested by a master.  You just don't want to go making up techniques on your own.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 18, 2014, 04:18:17 PM
Im not certain Jhana and focus really go together.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on January 18, 2014, 06:49:31 PM
By focus I mean object of attention.  Place your attention on your hands and feet.  Now place your attention on your breath.  This is moving or changing focus. 
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 18, 2014, 07:27:39 PM
Correct, hence I don't think Jhana fits in there. It's not an object in the traditional sense, it is a state. You experience or access it rather than attend to it or focus on it.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on January 18, 2014, 11:37:13 PM
But you can pay attention to a state just like a thought, emotion or a cool breeze.  It only depends on the purpose of the attention - insight or concentration.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on January 19, 2014, 04:12:38 AM
So what insights have you gleaned from your attention to entering Jhanic states?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on January 22, 2014, 05:02:19 AM
That calm is dependent on conditions and the states that arise as a result of calm are impermanent.  By themselves they do not lead to enlightenment. 
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on January 26, 2014, 06:05:49 PM
That calm is dependent on conditions and the states that arise as a result of calm are impermanent.  By themselves they do not lead to enlightenment. 

Correct ... also need to follow other folds of the path ....
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: J0rrit on July 04, 2014, 01:33:03 PM
I really want to bump up this thread. Anymore opinions on this?

I went from the method of Ajahn Brahm (only and exclusively the breath) to follow the breath and be aware of the whole body at the same time (I'm not using Thanissaro's method, is full of concepts and fabrications).

The problem I encounter with the methods is this:

In the method of Ajahn Brahm (attention on the breath alone) I get the problem that eventually, I have either the feeling I'm concentrating too hard, or too less, I can't find the perfect middle way. With full body breathing, It's the perfect middle way in my opinion. But with this method I find that my awareness is broad and not as one-pointed as before. My mind feels dull and a little unconcentrated. This gives me an experience of being sleepy or not clear at all.

Any suggestions or opinions ?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on July 04, 2014, 01:42:49 PM
Hi J0rrit,

As I said on your other thread 'keep on going' - maybe this was a bit cryptic. It will take time to transition from one practice to another, it takestine to find the right balance and it takes time to transition from understanding the practice intellectually to understanding it on a visceral, felt level.

You've moved to a more relaxed way of developing concentration so it didn't surprise that you are having trouble finding the right balance of Serenity and concentration. One of the key things is to be sure you are not intellectualising the idea of following the breath. That's why the instructions on the homepage and regularly my posts repeat the mantra of feeling the bodily sensations created by breathing: it's an important way of taking practice from thinking to being.

Kindly,

Matthew
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: VinceField on July 04, 2014, 10:11:24 PM
An important point I have learned regarding one-pointed concentration on the breath is that when your concentration starts to develop, you eventually begin to loose awareness of everything besides the breath, almost as if everything else is blocked from your awareness.  So not only is this not being fully mindful, which is what I believe the practice should be all about, but it also suppresses hinderances from arising due to the intense one-pointed concentration. 

This is different from allowing the hinderance to arise and then mindfully releasing it as takes place with full-body tranquility meditation, as apparently over time the constant mindful release of the hinderance is what weakens it.  The more you see the hinderance arise and release it, the more you recognize its impermanent and impersonal nature, the less power it has over you, and eventually it no longer arises. 

Apparently with the one-pointed concentration, the hinderances stop arising due to the intense focus, but the root cause of the hinderance retains its power and so the hinderances come right back up when the intense concentration is lost, as the hinderances are not being mindfully released and weakened but they are simply being temporarily blocked.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Billymac629 on July 05, 2014, 11:24:34 PM
I really want to bump up this thread. Anymore opinions on this?

I went from the method of Ajahn Brahm (only and exclusively the breath) to follow the breath and be aware of the whole body at the same time (I'm not using Thanissaro's method, is full of concepts and fabrications).

The problem I encounter with the methods is this:

In the method of Ajahn Brahm (attention on the breath alone) I get the problem that eventually, I have either the feeling I'm concentrating too hard, or too less, I can't find the perfect middle way. With full body breathing, It's the perfect middle way in my opinion. But with this method I find that my awareness is broad and not as one-pointed as before. My mind feels dull and a little unconcentrated. This gives me an experience of being sleepy or not clear at all.

Any suggestions or opinions ?
The Buddha suggests a few different ways with dealing with hinderances...  In my experience this works..  You might need to make your meditation object (the breath) more interesting... or..  You may need to put more energy into our meditation.. or.. Even switch you object of meditation for a bit to increase energy. 
"The Cook" sutta comes to mind. 
others are the "Ahara Sutta" and "Capala Sutta"
maha metta
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: J0rrit on July 05, 2014, 11:54:56 PM
could you give me some ways to make the breath more interesting ?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Billymac629 on July 06, 2014, 12:37:08 AM
could you give me some ways to make the breath more interesting ?
how you look at the breath..  maybe really noticing the beginning and end of each in-breath and out-breath.  Noticing the slight still points at each beginning and each end....  also breathing out long breaths helps.  Noticing if the breathing feels tense or not...  At what stage does it feel tense? or where does it seem to be at ease?  What type of breathing calms the breath?  How does it effect the body?  How does the body effect the breath?

Switching the length of the breath helps a lot.. you might try breathing in long breaths and breathing out short breaths for drowsiness.  (The long in-breaths and short out-breaths help increase oxygen and blood flow) PS: do opposite for restlessness
Also, switching the areas in which you feel the breath might help...  If your feeling the breath in the body, ask yourself if you can feel it in the abdomen? in the back? in the sides? chest?  Find out how is the body breathing??   These questions (investigation) tend to energize the mind and starve out the drowsiness.

maha metta

Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: yossarian on July 06, 2014, 12:42:13 AM
could you give me some ways to make the breath more interesting ?


All good advice. I'd only like to add, what does the desire to have the breath feel more interesting aka boredom, feel like?  ;D
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Billymac629 on July 06, 2014, 01:15:40 AM
could you give me some ways to make the breath more interesting ?


All good advice. I'd only like to add, what does the desire to have the breath feel more interesting aka boredom, feel like?  ;D
Right on ;D
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Alexander on July 06, 2014, 09:43:05 AM
The importance of not clinging to a technique and the variety available is summed up well by Jack Kornfield's foreword on Ajahn brahm's book Mindfulness Bliss and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook from page 10:

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajahn_Brahm-Mindfulness_Bliss_and_Beyond-Chapters1-5.pdf (http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajahn_Brahm-Mindfulness_Bliss_and_Beyond-Chapters1-5.pdf)

Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on July 06, 2014, 07:09:00 PM
J0rrit,

Boredom is normal. Chogyam Trungpa said it is our best friend in Meditation: it makes us face ourselves. As others have indicated examining your aversion to boredom could be beneficial.

Kindly,

Matthew
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on July 10, 2014, 04:48:06 AM
What is the purpose of all this breathing?  If we are following these instructions as part of the four tetrads of anapanasati the purpose then is to use it as a conduit to enter Jhana.  But Jhana isn't something you can "do".  Jhana is something that happens to you after you set up the right conditions.

If you want something to happen it will never occur.  Impatience and expectation can be impenetrable obstacles.  These are hindrances as Vince noted above.  You can categorize them as clinging or wanting (3), worry (2) or doubt (5). 

The Five Hindrances
1. Sloth and Torpor
2. Restlessness and Worry
3. Clinging
4. Aversion
5. Doubt

But however you categorize it, it has to be overcome before anything else will occur.  Some consider the hindrances to be a beginner aspect but they come up again and again for even advanced meditators.

Make a commitment not to look for jhana or anything else for the next two to four weeks.  Conquer the desire for something "special" to happen.  Don't push too hard and don't come up with your own technique.  Relax and follow the instructions as they have been given to you by your teacher or the books in this post.  If you are tired or bored, rest.  Practice again the next day when you are refreshed, that's why most do it in the morning. 

When in doubt, kindness and clear sense of purpose are our greatest allies in these practices.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Alexander on July 14, 2014, 09:46:18 PM
What's the deal when Thanissaro says you can stop breathing and your skin will suffice for respiration because I don't recall that being covered at medical school. Is it a metaphor, to be taken literally or the end of the conception of duality?
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Billymac629 on July 15, 2014, 08:11:41 PM
What's the deal when Thanissaro says you can stop breathing and your skin will suffice for respiration because I don't recall that being covered at medical school. Is it a metaphor, to be taken literally or the end of the conception of duality?
I believe he only speculates this..  He said in a talk that he can't claim this to be true.  But he said the idea helps with full body awareness.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Alexander on July 15, 2014, 10:39:41 PM
Ah glad to hear it, thank you.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Nicky on July 25, 2014, 09:45:17 PM

The methods:

Ajahn Brahm:

He describes the words 'breathing in-out sensitive to the entire body' and 'breathing in-out calming the body fabrications' in this book. He says that here is meant with the body the breath-body and not the entire body. He gives for explanations that the Buddha called the breath a body among bodies and that in the first couple steps of Anapanasati the object of meditation (the breath) is simplified (from knowing the breath as long or short to just knowing you are breathing) and that it would be illogical to make it more complicated in step 3 or 4 in the Anapanasati to suddenly be sensitive to the entire body. He also explains that 'calming bodily fabrications' means calming the breath-body, and the rest of the body will follow.

My opinion:  :angel:

Ajahn Brahm has quoted the sutta correctly but translates & interprets it incorrectly. Only Ajahn Buddhadasa has translated & explained it correctly. The Pali is 'sabbe kaya', which means 'all bodies'. The word 'sabbe' means 'all', such as in the phrases: "Sabbe satta sukita hontu" and "sabbe dhamma anatta" (may all beings be happy; all things are not-self). 'All bodies' refers to the breath as a body & the physical body as a body. It can also refer to the mind as a body (kaya), such as in the term 'nama kaya'.

The Pali 'sankhara' does not necessarily mean 'fabrication'. In fact, in this context, it means 'fabricator'. Therefore, the breathing in & out is the body fabricator because it fabricates or conditions the physical body.

For example, when the breath is long, fine, smooth & calm, the physical body will feel at ease. When the breath is coarse, short, rough & agitated, the physical body will feel uncomfortable & distressed.

At the 3rd step, what should be comprehended is the relationship between the 3 kaya. Insight (vipassana) should occur here into cause & effect. What should be comprehended is the relationship between the mind, the breath & the body, which is:

"When the mind is like this, the breath becomes like this & the body becomes like this. When the mind is like that, the breath becomes like that & the body becomes like that".

This is the meaning of the 3rd step of experiencing all bodies (sabbe kaya).


Quote
Thanissaro Bhikku:

He is talking about the whole body. So 'breathing in-out sensitive to the entire body' and 'breathing in-out calming the body fabrications' means sensitive to the entire body, and not only the breath. 'Calming bodily fabrications' means literally calming all of the bodily stress-points and be sensitive to the entire body. This method also includes visualizing the breath coming out of every pore in the body, and in his book he describes more of these visualizing stuff. I am sceptible about this because I have the feeling visualizing stuff (an example is that he describes visualizing the words from someone else floating around you instead of coming towards you in an aggressive communication) is not experiencing things as they really are.

Best to reflect with reason & intelligence. Can the mind be aware of the whole body, such as the little finger, the little toe & every hair on the head?

However, strangely, Thanissaro Bhikku has discussed the 'kaya sankhara' (body fabricator) correctly in his essay: 'Shape of Suffering', as follows:
Quote
2) Fabrication: the process of intentionally shaping states of body and mind.

These processes are of three sorts:
a) bodily fabrication: the in-and-out breath,
b) verbal fabrication: directed thought and evaluation, and
c) mental fabrication: feeling (feeling tones of pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain) and perception (the mental labels applied to the objects of the senses for the purpose of memory and recognition).

As you walk to the door of your parents’ house, thinking about the situation (2b—verbal fabrication), you pull up memories of things your uncle has done in the past (2c—mental fabrication). This provokes anger, causing your breathing to become labored and tight (2a—bodily fabrication). This makes you uncomfortable (2c—mental fabrication), and you are aware of how uncomfortable you feel (3—consciousness). Hormones are released into your bloodstream (4 f through 4i—Form).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf)

Hopefully we can start a nice discussion here. I use the Ajahn Brahm method at the moment, but I'm trying to find out which one is the 'right' method and what are the pros and cons for each method. I am also very interested in which method you use, and why you think this one is better than the other etc.

In my opinion, Ajahn Brahm has the 'right' method, particularly his emphasis upon letting go as the basis for developing samadhi.

However, only Ajahn Buddhadasa has explained the fruition of practise correctly (here (http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_Anapanasati_Mindfulness_with_Breathing.htm)).

Best wishes  :angel:

As for the Pali, it is quite clear. The Pali is 'kāyasaṅkhāraṃ', which refers to the 'breathing in & out'.

Quote
sikkhati, ‘passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ passasissāmī’ti sikkhati

He trains himself: calming the body-conditioner I shall breathe in. He trains himself: calming the body-conditioner I shall breathe out.

MN 118

Quote
Assāsapassāsā kho, āvuso visākha, kāyasaṅkhāro

Friend Visakha, in-&-out breaths are the bodily saṅkhāro

MN 44
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Nicky on July 25, 2014, 10:04:32 PM

What is this 'breath body'? It sounds like a fabricated idea to me.

MN 118, which A.B. has quoted, states:
Quote
Kāyesu kāyaññatarāhaṃ, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadāmi yadidaṃ – assāsapassāsā.

I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies...
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Obol on July 27, 2014, 09:36:14 PM
Thanissaro advises to imagine the breath in whatever way leads to greater mindfulness, alertness and concentration. All meditation techniques use fabrication, because everything short of Nibbana is a fabrication.

If imagining breathing through your pores or nerves or whatever is helpful, do it. Mindfulness of the parts of the body involves being mindful of the hairs on the head - which have no nerves in them. But if the technique helps you to become more mindful and sensitive, why not use it?

Admittedly I dont know Ajahn Brahms methods, but Thanissaro is relentlessly pragmatic. If it helped your mindfulness and concentration to imagine that you were a watermelon, he would say to give it a go.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on August 08, 2014, 05:23:51 AM
One breath in is half a circle.  One breath out is the other half of the circle.  Together they make a body of breath, 'a body' being a round, a cycle.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on August 12, 2014, 04:48:10 PM
Thanissaro advises to imagine the breath in whatever way leads to greater mindfulness, alertness and concentration. All meditation techniques use fabrication, because everything short of Nibbana is a fabrication.

The core of Practice is experiencing things for real, not imagining. Following the actual sensations of the body whilst breathing does not involve fabrication or imagination.

It may be true that all Meditation techniques use fabrication but this does not mean that everything experienced in Meditation is fabricated. When your abdomen rises and falls, when your chest expands - these are not fabrications but facts that can be directly experienced with no need for any fabricated image of what is occurring.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: ommanipadmehum on September 03, 2014, 02:43:33 AM
This is the distinction of pannatti vs paramattha dhammas.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Dharmic Tui on September 03, 2014, 10:20:50 AM
I wonder how much different the results are depending on which Dhamma you follow.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: alaber on December 11, 2015, 12:09:36 PM
The simile for the 1st Jhana is as follows: "suppose a skilled bath attendant or his apprentice were to pour soap-powder into a metal basin, sprinkle it with water, and knead it into a ball, so that the ball of soap-powder be pervaded by moisture, encompassed by moisture, suffused with moisture inside and out, yet would not trickle. In the same way, Kevaṭṭa, the monk drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness."

My question: how can you suffuse your whole body with Piti and Sukha is you are focusing only on the breath and let go of the body?
Thanissaro method is more compatible with the simile.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on December 14, 2015, 04:01:52 AM
..
My question: how can you suffuse your whole body with Piti and Sukha is you are focusing only on the breath and let go of the body?
Thanissaro method is more compatible with the simile.

Question: How can you feel your breath except with the body?

Answer: You can't, ever, in any way: your only experience of focusing on the breath is through bodily sensations created by the process of breathing. The body is not let go.
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: alaber on December 14, 2015, 09:31:43 AM
The 1st four Jhanas as rupa Jhanas which means experienced with the body. They were not called "breath Jhanas" by the Buddha.
The four similes for the four rupa Jhanas clearly imply these Jhanas are experienced by the physical body (as well as the mind of course).

To me steps 2 to 4 of Anapanasati are about the physical body not the so called "breath body".
Title: Re: Whole 'body' breathing awareness - The Ajahn Brahm method vs Thanissaro Bhikku
Post by: Matthew on December 14, 2015, 10:33:02 PM
The 1st four Jhanas as rupa Jhanas which means experienced with the body. They were not called "breath Jhanas" by the Buddha.

Nor were they called breath Jhanas by me.

To me steps 2 to 4 of Anapanasati are about the physical body not the so called "breath body".

I'm not sure what you refer to as steps 2 to 4 without knowing the text you are using. However, I have also never used the expression " breath body" - as far as I can see it is a fabrication, it does not exist at all. When the Buddha spoke thus:

Quote
the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies

He was, as he so very often did, using these words metaphorically. Specifically I suspect he is referring to use of mindfulness of breathing (which can only be achieved through physical body sense organs) as a most efficacious vehicle for transformation.

As I wrote before:

Question: How can you feel your breath except with the body?

Answer: You can't, ever, in any way: your only experience of focusing on the breath is through bodily sensations created by the process of breathing. The body is not let go.

The above is quite clear: breath can only be experienced through contact with bodily sense organs. Anapana has everything to do with the body.