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Meditation on pleasure?

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Meditation on pleasure?

Postby upanishad on Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:51 am

Hello all,

Is there such a thing as a meditation on pleasure? Cultivating a feeling of inner joy, mirth, happiness, laughter, love, etc.? That feeling when you are brimming with joy and feel like laughing?

I've read that the jhanas (certain definitions of them, anyway) include a focus on a feeling of pleasure as an access point.

I also read one time about a master leading his monks to samadhi through laughter.

But I'm wondering if there is a meditation designed specifically to cultivate pleasure.

Thanks!
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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby Lunarious1987 on Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:39 am

I heard once, probably tibetan, You'd visualize a God emitting light from his staff into your heart. That creates love. Cleaner heart.

Peace
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- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby Caodemarte on Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:27 am

AFAIK, I don't think there is a special, dedicated (dare I say artificial?) cultivation of any feeling in Zen.Feelings are certainly not rejected and Zen teachers are historically well known for their humor. I understand one Japanese Roshi told his American monks to laugh at least once day because he found them absurdly stiff and over serious, if not sanctimonious.

Many Theravada meditation traditions do use the arising of the wholesome joy that is a sign of proper practice and concentration on the wholesome joy that arises in meditation as access to the first of the jhanas in a gradual, step-by-step, and fairly technical approach. This is superficially quite different from the Mahayana Zen approach, but I suspect the inner core of all orthodox Buddhist groups is more similar than different. :Namaste:
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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:43 am

I'd say that in the Zen Buddhist way, there is no meditation "on" anything. Zazen is zazen.

One may be working on koans, but even that is not really a "meditation" on or upon anything. A teacher will help to set a person straight about how to go about it, however, and I can't say here.

So, no, there is no meditation on pleasure, or upon feelings.

Perhaps individual practitioners naturally on occasion contemplate such things, or themes, but I think this is not to found in formal, communal practice. Not that too many other people would know, if someone slips into it, though.

Thich Nhat Hanh has been known to direct students in kinhin (a walking practice) to "enjoy" their practice, and enjoy their breathing. It's good advice. And I think he advises them to walk -- and even sit -- with a half-smile.

I think, in any case, that if one has good teaching, and practices correctly, there is no need whatsoever either to contemplate or meditate on themes of pleasure, or happiness. Rather, these things naturally arise; and, if time is ripe, so do true Wisdom and true Compassion (which are the point of all practice), when one awakens.

Meanwhile, Zen Buddhist practice does not treat leaves or branches, but gets at the root. That's why it's said to be a "quick" way to see one's true nature, and to further cultivate to realize our nature steadily. No one wants to water-down this wonderful program of transmitted and inherited practice, which has a logic and a progress(ion) all its own.

Other schools have other ways. I hope we'll let each school do what it does best.

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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby TigerDuck on Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:33 am

upanishad wrote: I'm wondering if there is a meditation designed specifically to cultivate pleasure


Do you mean:
"Meditation to cultivate pleasure"
Or
"Meditation using pleasure as the path"?

They are different.

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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby upanishad on Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:30 pm

I meant meditation to cultivate pleasure. As a starting point, starting by cultivating pleasure, or purposefully generating that feeling of joy. As opposed to waiting for it to occur naturally. To become suffused with joy, a phrase I've heard. I guess one idea is to recall a memory of mirth or laughter, something funny that happened and let that build, part of a feedback loop in the brain. Or starting with a smile or laughing, and focusing on the pleasure of that sensation, to become brimming with joy.

Having done some searching, I came across writing about the Laughing Buddha, Hotei. http://discovermeditation.com/515/blog/ ... ng-buddha/
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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby Caodemarte on Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:13 pm

That is a nice explanation Joe!


The short answer is "No, not in normal, traditional Zen practice and it would seem antithetical or irrelevant to zazen."

This is not a judgement on other practices or traditions or a prescription for what you do. However, this is the (Zen) beginners question section of a Zen board so it is probably not the best place to explore other methods in any detaiil as it tends to confuse beginners on what Zen practice is. There is a section marked other traditions for that. More generally, the best we could do in any case is discuss a Zen practioner point of view on other traditions or explore Zen practice (the purpose of the forum). If you wish a really useful discussion on other traditions you would find a higher level of expertise from people who do that practice.
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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:11 pm

upanishad wrote:I meant meditation to cultivate pleasure. As a starting point, starting by cultivating pleasure, or purposefully generating that feeling of joy. As opposed to waiting for it to occur naturally. To become suffused with joy, a phrase I've heard. I guess one idea is to recall a memory of mirth or laughter, something funny that happened and let that build, part of a feedback loop in the brain. Or starting with a smile or laughing, and focusing on the pleasure of that sensation, to become brimming with joy.


Meditation that is attached to a feeling, idea or object is called outer path meditation, it's not a part of Zen Buddhism.
Like new age meditation or meditating on wanting to get anything (like a good feeling) is problematic because even when you succeed that feeling won't last. True practise is in accordance with selflessness and non-attachment.

There are fruits of practise which result in joy/bliss, but those "must" not be attached to otherwise one cant progress.

I know many people who meditate to cultivate joy, it's allright but has nothing to do with Zen/Chan Buddhism.
Most people don't realize that anything you do for yourself has very limited results.
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Re: Meditation on pleasure?

Postby Nothing on Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:38 pm

fukasetsu wrote:
upanishad wrote:I meant meditation to cultivate pleasure. As a starting point, starting by cultivating pleasure, or purposefully generating that feeling of joy. As opposed to waiting for it to occur naturally. To become suffused with joy, a phrase I've heard. I guess one idea is to recall a memory of mirth or laughter, something funny that happened and let that build, part of a feedback loop in the brain. Or starting with a smile or laughing, and focusing on the pleasure of that sensation, to become brimming with joy.


Meditation that is attached to a feeling, idea or object is called outer path meditation, it's not a part of Zen Buddhism.
Like new age meditation or meditating on wanting to get anything (like a good feeling) is problematic because even when you succeed that feeling won't last. True practise is in accordance with selflessness and non-attachment.

There are fruits of practise which result in joy/bliss, but those "must" not be attached to otherwise one cant progress.

I know many people who meditate to cultivate joy, it's allright but has nothing to do with Zen/Chan Buddhism.
Most people don't realize that anything you do for yourself has very limited results.


Well said Fuka!

I would just add that instead to meditate to get anything, no matter what is it, it is much better to understand the relatively fleeting nature of the thing that person wants to get it, because all existence is conditional, it comes to existence because certain causes and conditions are present and goes out of existence when they are not there anymore. So you just increase your chances to be disappointed over and over again, chasing after something endlessly, which is the cause of ''dukha'' , the second noble truth.


Victor
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