|Mindfulness of Breathing|
|by Ven Shravasti Dhammika|
Mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) is the most basic and also the most popular form of Buddhist meditation. The Buddha said: `When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and benefit' (M.III,82). Those doing this meditation will sit in a comfortable posture, usually cross-legged and with a straight back, and try to gently focus their attention on the in-and-out movement of the breath. As they gradually proceed, they will more quickly notice when their attention strays and be able to return it to the breath. Thus they will develop enhanced concentration, mental discipline and physical and psychological relaxation. As the practice matures, concentration should be allowed to give way to mindfulness, i.e. rather than trying to control the attention, one simply becomes aware of what is happening from moment to moment. This physical comfort and mental alertness is the first step in controlling the mind so that it can be understood and eventually freed.