Contemplation of feelings ( Vedananupassana ) | Vipassana Meditation
Vedana, here is defined as feelings or having feelings in the course of practice, both physical and mental such as comfortable or uncomfortable physical feeling or being happy, delighted, proud of, unhappy, oppressive, angry, unsatisfied, worried, and so on. Vedana can be categorized into three types which are pleasant feeling (Sukha Vedana), unpleasant feeling (Dukkha Vedana), and indifferent feeling-- neither pleasant nor unpleasant (Adukkhamasukha Vedana). During the practice, Vedana may occur and be more perceivable than the rising and felling of the abdomen; if so the meditator should contemplate until it disappears and do the same to the others. It is important to contemplate only a single object at a time, otherwise the meditator will get confused and stressed and the practice will not go well.In ahasatipatthanasutta, Lord Buddha said:
"Sukhamva vedanam vedayamano sukham vedanamvedayami-ti pajanati." (feeling pleasant, one knows "one is feeling pleasant.")
"Dukkham va vedanam vedayamano dukkham vedanam vedayami-ti pajanati." (feeling unpleasant, one knows "one is feeling unpleasant.")
"Adukhamasukham vedanam vedayamano adukhamasukham vedanam vedayami-ti pajanati." (feeling indifferent, one knows "one is feeling indifferent.")
Method of Practice
When having pain, note "painful, painful, painful". Having an ache, note "aching, aching, aching". Being numb, note "numb, numb, numb. Being stiff, note "stiff, stiff, stiff". Being itchy, note "itchy, itchy, itchy". Being hot, note "hot, hot, hot", and so on. To contemplate Vedana, great patience is needed. The less patience there is, the more one will change one's posture, and the worse concentration will be.
If there cannot be patience, the period of time for the mindful sitting would be shortened, and gradually increased three, five, and ten minutes in each. When the sitting can be taken through the whole period, the meditator should move to the mindful walking, and then resume the sitting as a recurring sequence of the practices. It is advised that mindful walking and sitting should be performed for equal periods of time since the beginning, otherwise the posture or controlling faculties (Indriya 5: confidence, effort, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom) will be imbalanced. This contemplation is part of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness meditation named "Vedananupassana".
How to keep the mind in place? When unpleasant feeling arise, keeping the mind indifferent is the best way. Do not wish such feeling disappeared or defeated. Do not crave to know how it continues to be or when it will disappear, just mindfully observe. Three methods to contemplate Vedana confronting method: the meditator must determine to contemplate Vedana withoutgetting discouraged, even he fears he will die. Fix the mind on the pain and go straight to the center of the most painful experience. This method demands for the greatest effort and concentration, therefore the meditator will be exhausted. However, it is a good exercise for keeping the mind in place and to get insight into the pain.
Ambush Method : when the effort goes down, to restore it the meditator moves back from contemplating the pain, and resumes it when he isready. For instance, during the mindful sitting, the pain is growing and seems to be unbearable. The meditator should move to contemplate the rising and falling of abdomen or other objects instead, but should not immediately change the posture tostanding or walking. Observing method: when the pain is growing, the meditator should not suppress or try to overcome it, but simply observe with mindfulness. For instance, only note "painful, painful, painful", "numb, numb, numb", "stiff, stiff, stiff", or "knowing, knowing, knowing". On the other hand, the meditator possibly observes without a word noted, like a soldier observing movement of his enemy at a watchtower; there isno need to fight.