not overlooking the breath

It’s surprising that in our lives we often overlook the breath and that in our meditation practice we are sometimes bored by it. Not only is each breath sustaining our lives, but being aware and mindful of the breath was also the basis for the Buddha’s own awakening. It can be for our own awakening as well:

“Bhikkhus, if wanderers of other sects ask you: ‘In what dwelling, friends, did the Blessed One generally dwell during the rains residence?’—being asked thus, you should answer those wanderers thus: ‘During the rains residence, friends, the Blessed One generally dwelt in the concentration by mindfulness of breathing.’ . . . “If anyone, Bhikkhus, speaking rightly could say of anything: ‘It is a noble dwelling, a divine dwelling, the Tathāgata’s dwelling,’ it is of concentration by mindfulness of breathing that one could rightly say this. “Bhikkhus, those Bhikkhus who are trainees, who have not attained their mind’s ideal, who dwell aspiring for the unsurpassed security from bondage: for them concentration by mindfulness of breathing, when developed and cultivated, leads to the destruction of the taints. Those Bhikkhus who are arahants, whose taints are destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, those completely liberated through final knowledge: for them concentration by mindfulness of breathing, when developed and cultivated, leads to a pleasant dwelling in this very life and to mindfulness and clear comprehension.”  (Bodhi, “The Connected Discourses” 1778)

from “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening” by Joseph Goldstein

 

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