| Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary Retreat 2013 Opening Talk and Q&A

Yogi: Most beginners start with anapanasati. At which point should we let go of anapanasati and explore other objects?

Sayadaw: We start with anapana and touching sensation. If you continue and the mind settles down, naturally the mind knows the anapana and also other objects. We allow the mind to know the other objects.

Some yogis try to focus on only one object and not allow other objects to arise; we’re not trying to focus on only one object.

We use anapana; and slowly when the mind becomes more calm and peaceful, we allow the mind to receive or recognize more objects.

Yogi: Is it good for beginners to start with awareness of the breath?

Sayadaw: Not for all yogis. Some yogis cannot observe the natural breath. Meditation object must be natural process.

If you’re creating the object, it is not a good meditation object. Some people cannot know their natural breath because awareness is not strong yet; they try to make the breath more obvious by breathing hard; creating an artificial object is not a good meditation object.

If you can be aware of your natural breath, then it’s okay to watch your breath. I notice that many yogis cannot because they focus and use too much effort; then they cannot breathe naturally. Then, they cannot use anapana.