Author Topic: Time or Quality  (Read 3680 times)


Time or Quality
« on: May 26, 2012, 04:04:52 PM »

What brings the best result? Is it how much time you meditate or is it the quality of meditation (quality of awareness)?



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Re: Time or Quality
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 06:39:55 PM »
Both are important, although quality is more important. But of course, you can't expect any substantial progress if you just sit for 5-10 minutes everyday. However, if that is all one can manage then one should definitely continue doing that.

As for quality, all three aspects of Dhamma - Sila, Samadhi and Pannya, the entire eight-fold path, is important. Buddha's teaching in its entirety is one integral whole; meditation is not a separate thing. 
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?


Re: Time or Quality
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 12:46:09 AM »

i've heard (from Ajahn Brahmavamso i think) that, in meditation, one should be a "passenger", not the "pilot" who tries to control the quality of it or any such thing. That one should just sit allowing it to happen naturally, putting aside the ego. Any thoughts regarding this way of practicing?



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Re: Time or Quality
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 07:11:38 AM »
Indeed this is a lesson we all have to learn sooner or later. Relevant to this subject, I`ve found these words from Venerable Henepola Gunaratana`s book "Mindfulness In Plain English" very useful (chapter 4 - Attitude (scroll down towards end of page)):
1. Don't expect anything. Just sit back and see what happens. Treat the whole thing as an experiment. Take an active interest in the test itself. But don't get distracted by your expectations about results. For that matter, don't be anxious for any result whatsoever. Let the meditation move along at its own speed and in its own direction. Let the meditation teach you what it wants you to learn. Meditative awareness seeks to see reality exactly as it is. Whether that corresponds to our expectations or not, it requires a temporary suspension of all our preconceptions and ideas. We must store away our images, opinions and interpretations someplace out of the way for the duration. Otherwise we will stumble over them.

2. Don't strain: Don't force anything or make grand exaggerated efforts. Meditation is not aggressive. There is no violent striving. Just let your effort be relaxed and steady.

3. Don't rush: There is no hurry, so take you time. Settle yourself on a cushion and sit as though you have a whole day. Anything really valuable takes time to develop. Patience, patience, patience.

4. Don't cling to anything and don't reject anything: Let come what comes and accommodate yourself to that, whatever it is. If good mental images arise, that is fine. If bad mental images arise, that is fine, too. Look on all of it as equal and make yourself comfortable with whatever happens. Don't fight with what you experience, just observe it all mindfully.

5. Let go: Learn to flow with all the changes that come up. Loosen up and relax.

6. Accept everything that arises: Accept your feelings, even the ones you wish you did not have. Accept your experiences, even the ones you hate. Don't condemn yourself for having human flaws and failings. Learn to see all the phenomena in the mind as being perfectly natural and understandable. Try to exercise a disinterested acceptance at all times and with respect to everything you experience.

7. Be gentle with yourself: Be kind to yourself. You may not be perfect, but you are all you've got to work with. The process of becoming who you will be begins first with the total acceptance of who you are.

8. Investigate yourself: Question everything. Take nothing for granted. Don't believe anything because it sounds wise and pious and some holy men said it. See for yourself. That does not mean that you should be cynical, impudent or irreverent. It means you should be empirical. Subject all statements to the actual test of your experience and let the results be your guide to truth. Insight meditation evolves out of an inner longing to wake up to what is real and to gain liberating insight to the true structure of existence. The entire practice hinges upon this desire to be awake to the truth. Without it, the practice is superficial.

9. View all problems as challenges: Look upon negatives that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow. Don't run from them, condemn yourself or bear your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem? Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in and investigate.

10. Don't ponder: You don't need to figure everything out. Discursive thinking won't free you from the trap. In mediation, the mind is purified naturally by mindfulness, by wordless bare attention. Habitual deliberation is not necessary to eliminate those things that are keeping you in bondage. All that is necessary is a clear, non-conceptual perception of what they are and how they work. That alone is sufficient to dissolve them. Concepts and reasoning just get in the way. Don't think. See.

11. Don't dwell upon contrasts: Differences do exist between people, but dwelling upon then is a dangerous process. Unless carefully handled, it leads directly to egotism. Ordinary human thinking is full of greed, jealousy and pride. A man seeing another man on the street may immediately think, "He is better looking than I am." The instant result is envy or shame. A girl seeing another girl may think, "I am prettier than she is." The instant result is pride. This sort of comparison is a mental habit, and it leads directly to ill feeling of one sort or another: greed, envy, pride, jealousy, hatred. It is an unskillful mental state, but we do it all the time. We compare our looks with others, our success, our accomplishments, our wealth, possessions, or I.Q. and all these lead to the same place--estrangement, barriers between people, and ill feeling.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.


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Re: Time or Quality
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 04:33:49 PM »
Time builds quality and quality builds time: middle way. Quality first, as Vivek said. No point sitting for a day if you are thinking about the girl next door the whole time or dying in pain.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~


Re: Time or Quality
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 10:28:48 AM »
Also don't underestimate the other aspects of the eight-fold path other than just right concentration. You can sit on your arse for hours upon hours but if everything else in your life isn't conducive to a good practice then your meditation quality's going to lose out.

In my experience, if everything else you're doing is in line with your practice then your quality of focus will be quite crystal and effortless even if held for shorter periods.


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