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Getting Started with Sitting Practice

Two Exercises using Satipatthana Technique

Make a Rag Robe

Conjuring the Mind-Made Body

Demonstrate Downbound Confounded Rebounding Conjuration

Make an Earth Kasina

Focusing Sati


Getting Started with Sitting Practice

Put a Look of Satisfaction on Your Face

Put the mind on the face. The face contains more of the sense organs than any other location on the body. The muscles of the face are connected to five "tendon group tendons" which control the tensions in the entire body. The face, continuously reacting to sense stimuli, expresses the individual's reactions to the world. This reaction, if the individual is caught up in the hunger and thirst for sense stimuli, is reflected in an overall feeling of dissatisfaction. If the individual has seen through to the real nature of things and has let the hunger and thirst for sense stimuli go, his body reflects a general feeling of satisfaction. The practice here is to familiarize the individual with the sensation of satisfaction. Therefore, while still in the utmost erect posture possible, put a look of Satisfaction on the Face.

It does not matter that the look of Satisfaction is not genuine. The idea here is to create a point of reference.

This is the exercise: Smile broadly and then focus on the face muscles needed to create that broad smile and let go of the tension involved.

And then, take in 1, 2, 3 Deep Deep Deep Satisfying breaths, and Let It all Go.

Thinking: "With Penetrating Knowledge of this Confounded Body, I breath in a Deep Breath" breath in a deep breath.

Thinking: "With Release from this Confounded Body, I breath out a Deep Breath" breath out a deep breath.

Thinking: "Stilling, Calming, Tranquilizing this Confounded Body, I breath In and Out with short breaths" breath in and out with short breaths.

This is the way to train yourself.




The difference between "not doing" and "doing nothing"

To physically understand the difference between "doing nothing" (which, by definition, is a doing, and is, therefore, impossible) and "not doing" (which is important to the understanding of every phase of the Pali practice, especially for Getting High). Clench your fist using extreme pressure. Hold the fist clenched for a few seconds, until you can focus on the mechanics of what you are doing. Then, without opening the fist or moving a muscle with intention, let go of the tension that is causing the fist to clench. This is not "doing" anything, this is the letting go of (the ending of) the doing that was the clenching. This example, demonstrated through the physical body, applies as well to all forms of grasping: grasping of the body; grasping after sense experience; grasping after perceptions; grasping after the creation of your own world; and grasping after consciousness.




Good pain and bad pain

It is a fact that in the beginning, when setting into practice, say, the abstention from saying things that are not true, the individual will experience sometimes enormous Pain, hassles, grief, turbulence, and so forth. This exercise will provide a visible example of the fact that what is really happening is a good thing. Have a friend make a fist. While you are sitting in a relaxed posture, have your friend push his fist into your stomach (he should push hard, but not forcefully or fast) and then have him keep the fist in position with a continuous pressure. Hold this position for a good few minutes. Then, have your friend swiftly pull back his fist. I call this "The Unpunch."



Two Exercises using Satipatthana Technique

I. The Satisfaction of Watching Hair Grow

Go to your Place to Be Alone. Sit Down and assume the posture. Breath in [1, 2, 3] OneOne, TwoTwo, ThreeThree Deep, Deep, Deep Satisfying Breaths, and, Remembering to Put a Look of Satisfaction on your face, Let It All Go.

Take a few minutes to become as Calm as you can. Remember: the best way to do this is, (once the posture has been set, and you have let go) to "Do" absolutely nothing. Release tension you notice, and breath in and out stilling, calming, tranquilizing the whole confounded body. Soak, Permeate, Suffuse and Saturate the Entire Confounded body with Peace and Calm. Allow yourself to Enjoy the Peace and Calm.

And then, Focus your Attention on the hair of your head (Remember the Double-Ended Skin Bag filled with Shhhh . . . don t ell anyone.) It might be easiest at first to close your eyes. Try to picture the hair on your head. Try to picture just one hair. You might see your scalp and a bunch of hairs. Try to focus down on one hair. Is your scalp clean or filthy? Just focus on the one hair. Focus on the Root [mula]. What is the "feeling" you are experiencing? Can you actually see the hair growing out of the pore? How does that work? Where does hair start. What is the Food of Hair? What happens to the hair as it grows older. What is the end of the hair? Does it get clipped off? Or do you let your hair grow indefinitely? What happens after that? Is there any way that you can imagine that a hair does not eventually come to an end? Imagine the hair of some beautiful young hair model. Now imagine one of her hairs in your soup. Or, maybe, you just got a good clear picture of that one hair growing and you were thoroughly revolted and revolted you let go your inclination to associate with your hair as "My hair" or "My hair is Part of Me." Rather not discuss it.

Let it Go.

Bit by bit you should run through each and every step of the Satipatthana Sutta until you have reviewed each way of approaching things that it describes until seeing the changing nature of things, seeing the pain associated with that change, and seeing that there is nothing there that is an essential part of the you of you is thoroughly understood by you and let go. Don't get too obsessed with the SATIPATTHANA SUTTA, that is another school, just use it, follow the instructions, and let it go too.




II. The Double-Ended Skin Bag

Find your place to be alone, sit down, and get into the upright posture. Breath in [1,2,3] OneOne, TwoTwo, ThreeThree Deep, Deep, Deep Satisfying Breaths, and, remembering to put a look of Satisfaction on your face, Let It All Go.

Still, Calm, Tranquilize the Body.

Soak, Permeate, Suffuse, and Saturate the Entire Confounded body with the Peace and Calm of Solitude.

And then, Focusing on the Hairs on Top of your head, hold the focus there until you have clearly, consciously understood that you have focused your attention on the hairs on the top of your head. Repeat this process slowly and methodically, without interruption, going through, in order, the entire list of items in the "Double-Ended Skin Bag" section of the SATIPATTHANA: Hair of the Head, Body Hair, Nails, Teeth, Skin, Meat, Sinews, Bones, Marrow, Esophagus, Lungs, Heart, Pancreas, Stomach, Liver, Kidneys, Large Intestine, Small Intestines, Spleen, Bile, Phlegm, Pus, Blood, Sweat, Tears, Fat, Spit, Snot, Urine, Feces and your Brain.

This far, this is simply an exercise in concentration. Contrast this exercise with the first one in which you concentrated intently on one of the items by itself until perception of its changeable, painful and impersonal nature was made conscious and enabled letting it go. In this case you want to reach the same perception, but with regard to the Whole body as made up of various parts.

Note as you examine each "part" whether it appears that you are doing so from "outside" or "inside" or "both outside and inside" that particular part, and note too in what way, when you examine the whole body, that appears to be being seen.

Note the way this "seeing" is occurring. Not through the eye, but in the "mind's eye." Note that you are, this way, actually able to see the various parts.

Think about how the body got into "the seated position." Think about the intention to sit, the moves you made, and the actual sitting. Then think about the thoughts you have when you decide to get up again. Notice the nature of the thought that is causing the impulse to get up. Is it's nature "wanting?"

Think about this, one of the most ancient of all "Dhammas:"

Not then me, not now mine
Not mine now, not becoming mine

Think about the changes that are occurring in the body as you sit. Ask yourself if it is "you" that is in control of those changes. If you determine that it is not "you" that is in control, ask yourself on what basis you lay the claim "My Body."

End the exercise by clearly, consciously Letting Go of the Exercise and Clearly, Consciously setting out to do what you intend to do next.



Make a Rag Robe

Make yourself a Rag-Robe. Guaranteed to be a Magical Experience. 4X6 cubits. Use only rags you find that have been thrown out. You can wash them, bleach them, and color them the traditional dark saffron color. Or not.

Beggars! It is not because a man wears Saffron Robes that he is near to me! Though a man wear saffron robes and be a liar, thief, or bloody handed, he is not near to me. A beggar, beggars, who lives the Dhamma is near to me whatsoever the color of his rags.

Don't forget the Kappa. This is a smudge or stain that is placed on the garment to render it fit and proper for use by a beggar (it would be unseemly for a beggar to be walking round with a brand new garment). (I am not certain if the kappa is actually necessary on a robe made from dust-heap rags, but do it just the same as another exercise.) If you have power, wait for the smudge to appear without deliberately placing it there. You will know it when you see it. When you have finished, tell me the meaning of "The Seamstress." [ Hint ]



Conjuring the Mind-Made Body

Sometimes called "The Astral Body"

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of a mind-made body. From this body, conjure another body, material, mind-made, totally complete of limb, endowed with higher powers.

In the same way as a man pulling a reed from it's sheath would know, "This is the reed, this is the sheath," or,

In the same way as a man pulling a sword from it's scabbard would know, "This is the sword, this is the scabbard," or

In the same way as a snake sluffing off it's slough might know, "This is the slough, this is the snake."

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of a mind-made body. From this body, conjure another body, material, mind-made, totally complete of limb, endowed with higher powers.

[Do you see anything strange in the qualitative difference between the thing that one starts with and the thing that one ends up with in this set of instructions?]

Remember the meditation on the double ended skin bag? Ok, then, pick up on that meditation where you left off. This time concentrate, in stead of on the foulness of the hair and so forth, on retaining a picture of the thing in your mind. Concentrate. And Picture. Bit by bit, put the thing together.

Remember: In this body are solids, liquids, heat and motion.

In which of the postures is this body placed or disposed?

What is it doing? Remember: Whatsoever it does, Beggars, Let it do it in a Satisfying Way.

Make it Generous, endowed with Ethical Culture, Self disciplined, wanting little; well tamed, well trained, well educated in the DHAMMA of the Aristocrats.

And, above all, remember that it too will come to an end.



Downbound Confounded Rebounding Conjuration

On Downbound Confounded Rebounding Conjuration

Lite a burner on your stove. Stand in front of the burner. Ask yourself: "What would happen if I placed my hand in the flame and left it there for a while?"

Now ask yourself: "Would I, willingly, place my hand in that flame?"

Of course not.

Why not?

Because you are not blind to the consequences.

Because you are not Blind to the consequences you DO NOT engage in that activity of body that would place your hand in that flame. Because you do not do that you do not suffer the pain of a burn't hand.

To that degree you have brought Dukkha, Pain to an end. To that degree you have experienced, first hand, with your own eyes, in the here and now, in this life, Nibbana.

Now: Ask yourself: What is the nature of this Nibbana I have experienced? Does it have Form (rupa)? Does it involve Sense Experience? (vedana); is it pleasant, unpleasant, neither pleasant nor unpleasant (it may be neither pleasant nor unpleasant but does it involve the senses?)? Does it it involve Perception (sanna[ 1 ])? Is it, in fact, any aspect of any kind of a world I have created for myself with any act of body, speech or mind? Does it involve Consciousness (vinnana)?

Does it have anything at all to do with my self?

Does it exist?

Does it not exist?

See the difficult part is seeing how the same principle is involved in this entire stockpiled pile of dukkha you calla "My a Me"




[ 1 ]Well, sorta, if you are considering the awareness of the phenomena itself, but the actual awareness of "not experiencing the pain of a hand burned by the flame" is not possible to perceive.




don't edaappa!

This is in the form of an exercise and there will be no explanatory text. In it's current state it is sufficiently finished to allow those interested to begin the exercise. Full development could take considerable time.

This is an exercise in the magic power known as Nirutti. Please be advised that this is a controversial topic and even in its "Academic" form produces an unusual amount of hostility/denial. Do it if you wish, but take care when speaking about it to others. As a magic power this preceded the Buddha, but as it is set up here, this will help you understand the Pali and what the Buddha taught.

The structure is in three parts: Construction of letters; Old Pali (the exercise proper); The Little Magic Kitbag.



Focusing Sati

This is from DN III:#33: Sangiti Suttanta: Six places to focus recollection:

Recollection of the Buddha,
Recollection of the Dhamma,
Recollection of the Sangha,
Recollection of Ethical Culture,
Recollection of Generosity,
Recollection of the Gods.

The Pali:
Cha anussati-ṭhānāni:

This set is the practice of bringing these ideas to mind in meditation, especially in situations where the mind has become distracted or upset or where the body has become uncomfortable. You have been sitting for one, two, three, five, ten, twenty, thirty, fourty, fifty, one hundred minutes and your agitated / distracted / uncomfortable state is about one hair from getting you to give up, get up and get on with your ordinary downbound life.
In this case, focus on one of the many suttas you find here, or in your books, or that you have heard. Focus down close on it, so that you are tracing the words one after the other. Soon you will find yourself stilled, calmed, tranquilized, steady, unshakable.
The Buddha says at this point to abandon this focus on the sutta or whatever once you have attained this goal. In practice it is more likely you will have abandoned it without thinking about it. but either way the other likelihood is that you will have considerably extended the duration of your sit down practice. Having extended the duration of your sit down practice, you have enjoyed a period of time without Dukkha, a period of time without pushing the wheel of samsara, you will have burn't off some old kamma and will be among those who have dwelt in the First Burrning, jhana.

To do this with the Recollection of the Buddha, focus on something of the life of Gotama you have heard about and focus in on that until you can see it in your mind, and then focus in on the details, such as what came before, what comes after, what was said and to whom, and so forth.

To do this with the Sangha, focus in on one of the Arahants: Sariputta, Mojjliana, Maha Kassapa, Ananda, the Anuruddhas, in this case, not as personalities, but as personifications (as it were) of stages of progress. Work out in your mind the stages that make up the Sangha: Streamwinner, Once-returner, non-returner, Arahant. Remember what you have heard about these stages and the individuals described as attaining these stages and work out in your mind what you, yourself, need to do to advance through these stages.

To do this with Ethical Culture, go over the details of Ethical Culture as put forth in this system and compare these details with your own behavior.

To do this with Generosity, recollect some activity of generosity of yours and go over the details very carefully. Expand out the idea thinking about how you might do more of such activity in the future.

To do this with the Gods, go over in mind the various gods described in The 10th QuestionRealms of the Imagination; put them in order in your mind, recollect what you have heard with regard to the way they live: food, clothing, shelter, dukkha and sukha, lifespan, what sort of deed was the proximate cause of rebirth in such a way. Here it is especially important to think of two things: "Is there within me any desire for rebirth in this manner?" (and if not, are you, in fact, thinking of some rebirth in an even lower state? Suchas rebirth again as human? Animal? Demon?) and "Does this life, however long, last forever?"



Next Time

Here is an exercise to bring your focus down on the disadvantages of rebirth.

For a time (a little at a time every day until the point comes home) try and imagine what it would be like to be reborn as whatever you think it would be most interesting to be reborn as. Imagine a variety, don't get hung up on one type.

Imagine being reborn as each of your friends, your pets, other animals, some wealthy or famous individual, someone of the opposite sex, of another race.

Imagine the life focusing primarily on the disadvantages of being reborn in that life.

When, after a while of doing this, you conclude that there is no life other than the one you are currently living that you could consciously choose, ask yourself how it can be that you are so lucky as to have been born you; ask yourself what you will do, when the body breaks up at death, and you are faced, once again, with your destiny. When you have reflected in this way, read Pajapati's Problem.



Katamañ ca bhikkhave sati-balaṃ?|| ||

Idha bhikkhave ariyasāvato satimā hoti||
paramena sati-nepakkena samannāgato||
cirakatam pi cirabhāsitam pi saritā anussaritā.|| ||

"And what, beggars, is Mind-Power?

Here the student of the Aristocrats has memory:
with accomplished, superior mastery of mind,
the long-ago-done, the long-ago-said long-ago recollected.

— Olds, trans. See also AN 5.14 Hare

A practice for Development of the Memory,
Stimulating Insight and Releasing Energy

A Buddhist Memory-building Exercise
combining Satipaṭṭhāna Practice
and the Recapitulation Practice of Don Juan Matus.


First ThingStep 1: Write down the names of every person you have known in your entire life. If you cannot remember a name use some descriptive term as a place-holder. This is not the impossible task it appears to be at first. By 'known' is meant any person with whom you have had any direct, person-to-person interaction that carried emotional impact or stimulated the mind. You should include 'unknown friends', that is friends you have interacted with although you have not actually met them, such as persons you have met on the internet, pen-pals, etc.

Second ThingStep 2: Arrange the list in chronological order. The list will grow over time.

Third ThingStep 3: In sit down practice, focus your mind on your mouth and then additionally on your in-and-out breaths. Then, work down the list from the present, one individual at a time concentrating on remembering every interaction with this person from the first time you met to the last encounter. Recollect down to the smallest details all the surroundings (follow the instructions for minding the body in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta), all the sensations experienced, the mental/emotional states that occurred reviewing all through the lens of the Dhamma as found at the end of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. As you call this person to mind, breath in penetrating knowledge (comprehension and awareness of the details) and breath out release from any tension you notice connected with the recollection. Do this again and again with each person on the list to the point of satisfaction: where there is no content in your memory of this person that is a mystery or which arouses pleasant or unpleasant sensations or mental states reflecting anything other than complete objective detachment. To the point where there is no wishing or wanting whatsoever connected with this person. You will know when this has been accomplished by attention to the breathing. Initially there will be a deep exhalation which will be clearly seen as a release of tension ("a sigh of relief") followed by smoothness of breathing. When the breath is completely free of disturbance you have liberated the energy locked up in the memory of this person.

This will be a life-long exercise. The practice is expanded by adding new categories to be recapitulated: e.g., dwellings, cities, countries, jobs, illnesses, clothing, food, books, movies and any other thing that may have trapped one's attention.

This practice is completely encompassed by the four settings-up of mind [satipaṭṭhāna]. This presentation in specific terms is not a statement that this is the entire scope of the Satipaṭṭhāna practice. It is just one exercise within it which I have personally used and found very helpful with results that are both swift and are easily seen to strenthen the memory, release energy and bring progress towards the goal of objective detachment.

The same caution holds for the Recapitulation practice of Don Juan. This is only the beginning practice in a very complex system.

Don Juan's breathing practice is different than that used in the Satipatthana technique. In his practice one synchronizes the in-breath with a smooth movement of the head from right to left, inhaling, as with the Satipatthana technique, penetrating knowledge of what has been visualized; and again synchronizing the out-breath with a smooth movement of the head from left to right expelling all attachment to the visualized object. At the point where the breath is smooth and detachment is clear, the head is moved rapidly but smoothly to the right and left without breathing in a jesture of closure and dismissal of any futher attachment to the object in the future. This involves intentional movements of the body which are not consistant with the later developments in the Buddhist Practice, but in that the technique is effective, it might be adopted in the interum with the intent that as practice becomes perfected the 'sweeping' movements of the head and the jesture of closure will be done mentally.

Note that there is an important distinction between the ordinary way we reminisce about the past and and 'remembering or recapitulting a episode from the past'. Reminiscing is recalling the events of the past and re-living them with the mind-set of the present. The job of recapitulation, the task that will free-up energy tied up in past situations, is to recollect the sensations and perceptions that were present and being experienced by one in the past situation.

Further, it is my experience that there are multiple levels of perception which will come to bear on the various objects of examanation. A person who may have been seen as having been of little importance at one level will, at a later time be seen as pivotal to very important later developments. Therefore in the act of dismissal one should not incororporate the intent that this object will never be revisited again. Attachment at a certain level is dismissed while alowing that one might not yet have seen the whole picture.



Combined Metta and Recapitulation Exercise: Take your list of names that you made up in preparation for your Recapitulation, and for each, visualize the individual or state the name (or do both) and make the wish: "May you be well and happy!"

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