The Ānāpānasati Sutta
A Practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation.
Please note: Some additional materials appear in this version of this book. As usual, the Ānāpānasati Sutta explains in full the sutta with regard to your meditation instructions.
All parts of the Ānāpānasati Sutta are printed in bold upright letters. All other supporting sutta references used are printed in bold italics. In this edition, three other primary practices are explained. They are Loving-Kindness Meditation, Forgiveness Meditation, and the specific instructions for Walking Meditation, which should accompany all practices. A glossary of terms is added in the order you would study the meditation. We hope this will be good support for your Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation practice.
An Open Invitation
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhasa
Many people are now on a search for a spiritual path that leads their mind to peace and happiness. They discovered that the norms of the world, which emphasize material happiness, do not actually bring real peace and security.
Instead, those norms lead to more pain and dissatisfaction. For these people, the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path exemplifies a simple and contented life; a life that is open and free. The Buddha taught the method to free our minds of lust, hatred, and delusion. He started by showing his disciples how to have an open mind that expands beyond its present limitations so that you can examine with understanding how everything works.
In the Kālāma Sutta, the Buddha explicitly stated that you should not follow any beliefs blindly, but rather, you should always examine and investigate for yourself. These admonishments were put forth for the purpose of opening and expanding your experience so that you will not be attached to any particular doctrine without thorough investigation.
This kind of honest inquiry into any particular doctrine opens up your mind and expands your consciousness. Then, you will see what leads to a close or tight mind and what leads to a mind that is open and clear.
One of the many lessons the Buddha teaches is to first expand your consciousness by the practice of generosity (dāna). When a person is miserly, they have a tendency to have a tight and limited mind full of craving. Their mind holds onto material things and easily becomes attached to them. Attachment of any form makes mind uncomfortable and tense.
This tension is the cause of immeasurable pain and suffering (dukkha). Thus, by encouraging the practice of generosity, it teaches us how to have a joyful, open, and clear mind which is never closed or tight.
Another form of generosity is the giving of time and energy to help those who are having problems, i.e. to become real friends. This includes helping others to be happy! When we say or perform actions which cause people to smile, it opens our mind and then joy arises. This doesn’t only happen to the other person but in our own mind as well. This type of practice helps us to expand our mind and let go of the tension.