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TOPIC: Four Elements Meditation Practices

Four Elements Meditation Practices 24 Feb 2017 00:38 #106114

Hi all

Does anyone have any experience with Buddhist four elements practices? I've been re-reading TMI, and there is a short section suggesting this as an option when examining body sensations. I'm feeling quite drawn to exploring this as another tool/lens to develop, and would very much appreciate any tips or pointers towards any other resources :-)
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Four Elements Meditation Practices 01 Mar 2017 20:40 #106178

I understand the '4 elements practice' to be a very traditional way to refer to contemplation of the bare qualities of physical sensations: heat and cold sensations (fire element), sensations of movement, pressure, and vibrations (air element), sensations covering all shades of hardness and softness (earth element), and sensations of wetness and dryness (water element). That's what's taught in the Mahasi lineage.

The Visudhimagga recommends that those who use the vehicle of so-called "dry-insight" (vipassana without previous attainment of samatha jhanas) begin their meditation with four elements practice. That's just to mean one begins with body contemplation (body sensations). Mahasi Sayadaw uses this passage to justify his use of the movements of the abdomen as a starting point to begin "dry-vipassana" practice, though he ackowledged that any body sensations would also be appropriate (sensations of sitting posture, touch points throughout the body, touch of air at nostrils, etc).

Four elements practice is a powerful meditation to free the mind from overly identifying with concepts about our body (tall, short, beautiful, ugly, old, young, sick, healthy, etc) The body becomes just pressure, vibrations, movement, coolness...basically a play of elements.

Best wishes with your practice.
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