Concentration on Respiration: Anapana Sati
is mindfulness on respiration. Ana means inhalation and Apana
exhalation. Concentration on the breathing process leads to one-pointedness
of the mind and ultimately to Insight which enables one to attain
Sainthood or Arhatship.
The Buddha also
practiced concentration on respiration before He attained Enlightenment.
This harmless concentration may be practiced by any person irrespective
of religious beliefs. Adopting a convenient posture, keep the body
erect. Place the right hand over the left hand. Eyes may be closed
sit cross-legged with the body erect. They sit placing the right foot
on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. This is the
full position. Sometimes they adopt the half position, that is by
simply placing the right foot on the left thigh or the left foot on
the right thigh. When the triangular position is assumed the whole
body is well-balanced. Those who find the cross-legged posture too
difficult may sit comfortably in a chair or any other support sufficiently
high to rest the legs on the ground.
It is of no importance
which posture one may adopt provided the position is easy and relaxed.
Head should not be drooping. Neck should be straightened so that the
nose may be in a perpendicular line with the navel. Buddhas usually
adopt the full lotus position. They sit with half closed eyes looking
not more than a distance of three and half feet. Before the practice,
bad air from the lungs should be breathed out slowly through the mouth
and then the mouth should be closed.
Now inhale through
the nostrils normally, without strain, without force. Mentally count
one. Exhale and count two. Inhale and count three. Count up to ten
constantly concentrating on the breathing process without thinking
of anything else. While doing so one's mind may wander. But one need
not be discouraged. Gradually one may increase the number of series
-- say five series of ten.
Later, one may
inhale and pause for a moment, concentrating merely on inhalation
without counting. Exhale and pause for a moment. Thus inhale and exhale
concentrating on respiration. Some prefer counting as it aide concentration
while others prefer not to count. What is essential is concentration
and not counting, which is secondary.
When one practices
this concentration one feels very peaceful, light in mind and body.
After practicing for a certain period a day might come when one may
realize that this so-called body is supported by mere breath and that
body perishes when breathing ceases. One fully realizes impermanence.
Where there is change there cannot be a permanent entity or an immortal
soul. Insight can then be developed to attain Arhatship.
It is clear that
the object of this concentration on respiration is not merely to gain
one-pointedness but also to cultivate Insight to obtain deliverance
from suffering. In some discourses this simple and harmless method
of respiration is described as follows:
1. When making
a long inhalation he knows: 'I make a long inhalation'; when making
a long exhalation he knows; 'I make a long exhalation'.
2. When making
a short inhalation he knows: ' I make a short inhalation'; when making
a short exhalation he knows: 'I make a short exhalation'.
3. Clearly perceiving
the entire breathing process (i.e., the beginning, middle and end),
'I will inhale; thus he trains himself; clearly perceiving the entire
breathing process, 'I will exhale'; thus he trains himself.
4. Calming the respiration, 'I will inhale'; thus he trains himself; calming the respirations, 'I will exhale'; thus he trains himself. "
Be still and peaceful.
Recite three times
-- Nammo Buddhaya -- (Honor to the Buddha)
As a clean and
empty vessel is filled with pure water I now fill my clean heart and
pure mind with peaceful and sublime thoughts of boundless loving-kindness
over-flowing compassion, sympathetic joy and perfect equanimity.
Think ten times:
Think ten times:
What I have gained
I now give unto others.
Think of all your
near and dear ones at home, individually or collectively, and fill
them with thoughts of loving-kindness and wish them peace and happiness,
repeating May all beings be well and happy! ... Then think of all
seen and unseen beings, living near and far, men, women, animals and
all living beings, in the East, West, North, South, above and below,
and radiate boundless loving-kindness, without any enmity or obstruction,
towards all, irrespective of class, creed, colour or sex.
Repeat ten times,
"May all beings be well and happy," and wish them all peace
1. May I be generous
and helpful! (Dana -- Generosity)
2. May I be well-disciplined
and refined in manners! May I be pure and clean in all my dealings!
May my thoughts, words and deeds be pure! (Sila -- Morality)
3. May I not be
selfish and self-possessive but selfless and disinterested! May I
be able to sacrifice my pleasure for the sake of others! (Nekkhamma
4. May I be wise
and be able to see things as they truly are! May I see the light of
Truth and lead others from darkness to light! May I be enlightened
and be able to enlighten others! May I be able to give the benefit
of my knowledge to others! (Panna -- Wisdom)
5. May I be energetic,
vigorous and persevering! May I strive diligently until I achieve
my goal! May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount
all obstacles! May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability!
(Viriya -- Energy)
6. May I be ever
patient! May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others! May
I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all! (Khanti
7. May I ever
be truthful and honest! May I not hide the truth to be polite! May
I never swerve from the path of Truth! (Sacca -- Truthfulness)
8. May I be firm
and resolute and have an iron will! May I be soft as a flower and
firm as a rock! May I ever be high-principled! (Adhitthana
9. May I ever
be kind, friendly and compassionate! May I be able to regard all as
my brothers and sisters and be one with all! (Metta -- Loving-kindness)
10. May I ever be calm, serene, unruffled and peaceful! May I gain a balanced mind! May I have perfect equanimity! (Upekkha -- Equanimity)
I serve to be perfect!