SadhanaOriental Meditation and Christian Prayer

To pray with body (taking a breath)

[7] Observing bodily sensations - 1

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 We have learned several ways of praying using breathing.
 Now, let’s forget about “breathing” for a while, and learn another way to meditate (pray) using our body.
 According to the path we have followed, it would be most appropriate to discuss Vipassana meditation (note).  This is a method to focus on “observing” the sensations of each part of our body.  Here is how we do it.
Accept the sensations on each part of your body.
 For example, here are some of the obvious sensations that you can observe when you are in the posture that we have already discussed: “the feeling that your buttocks touch a cushion (board),” “the feeling that your hands are on your knees and the back of the hands touch your knees,” “the feeling that your palms are warm,” “the feeling that clothes touch your shoulders,” and “the feeling that clothes touch your back.”  Feel all the separate sensations on your body including these typical ones.  This meditation method is called Vipassana meditation.
 During this meditation, clear your head without engaging in thinking or wishing, but just keep observing the sensation of each part of your body.  Spend five seconds or less for each bodily part.  Keep observing the sensations.  Try to cover every part of the surface of your body.
 Start from the top of your body: top of the head > forehead > eyes > nose > cheek > lips > chin > ears >back of the head > neck > right shoulder > right arm > right hand > fingers > left shoulder > left arm > left hand > fingers > throat > chest > belly > back > lower back > right thigh > right knee > right shin > right foot > toe > left thigh > left knee > left shin > left foot > toe.
 While you are observing the sensations of the above parts, do not think anything in your head.  If you notice that you are led into idle thoughts, immediately go back to observing sensations.
 Try to be “careful, patient, and calm.”  First, do this for about 15 minutes.  Then try doing it for longer duration: 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and one hour if possible.  (When you cover all the body parts from the top of your head to your toes, do it in the reverse direction towards the top, and repeat up and down.)
 You may feel that you cannot feel the sensations of many parts of your body because they are too subtle.  Do not give up but repeat observing the sensations of the parts that you can feel well and gradually focus on the subtle sensations.  In this way, you can expand the area of the body which you can observe the sensations of.  Remember doing it “carefully, patiently, and calmly.”
 This meditation method calms yourself and helps you focus on the present moment and feel happiness by regaining your native goodness.

(Note) Vipassana meditation
 Vipassana meditation (vipassana means “looking at things as they are”) directly originates in Shakyamuni.  Shakyamuni’s method had been passed down at Buddhism temples in Myanmar, which came to be widely known in the latter half of the last century through the activities of S.N. Goenka, an Indian, to promote it to the general public.  Fr. Anthony De Mello placed importance on this meditation method.  The headquarters for the Vipassana Association is in Igatpuri, about 100 km north east of Mumbai, India.  The Japan Vipassana Association has a training center in Funai-gun, Kyoto.  (Website: http://www.jp.dhamma.org/)

<<Reference on Vipassana meditation>>
 Larry Rosenberg. Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation. Shambhala, 2004.
『呼吸による癒し――実践ヴィパッサナ冥想――』ラリー・ローゼンバーク著(2001年 春秋社)
 William Hart. The Art of Living – Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka. HarperOne, 1987.
『ゴエンカ氏のヴィパッサナ入門――豊かな人生の技法――』ウィリアム・ハート著(1999年 春秋社)

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