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Breathing is the process that moves air in and out of the lungs.
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- A bhikkhu, having gone to the forest, or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty, solitary place, sits down cross-legged, keeping his body erect, and directs his mindfulness. Then only with keen mindfulness he breathes in and only with keen mindfulness he breathes out. Breathing in a long breath, he knows, "I breathe in a long breath"; breathing out a long breath, he knows, "I breathe out a long breath"; breathing in a short breath, he knows, "I breathe in a short breath"; breathing out a short breath, he knows, "I breathe out a short breath"; "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe in", thus he trains himself; "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself. "Calming the process of breathing, I shall breathe in", thus he trains himself; "Calming the process of breathing, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself.
- Gautama Buddha, Mahasatipatthana Sutta
- The human brain performs the function of thinking as involuntarily as the chest the function of breathing. However, we can, by our will, stop breathing for a while, and accelerate or retard the breathing movements. In the same way, the will can control the thoughts. We may choose any object as the subject matter of our thought, and yet we may quickly convince ourselves that the power of our will and the freedom of the mind are not any greater than the freedom of the chest in breathing.
- Joseph Dietzgen, Letters on Logic: Especially Democratic-Proletarian Logic (1906), Letter 2
- The old dispute about the relative virtues of the active way and the contemplative way is a spurious one. We require both. They are phases of a single rhythm like the pulsing of the heart, the in-drawing and letting go of breath, the ebb and flow of the tides. So we go deep, deep inwards in meditation to consolidate our vital energy, and then, with greater love and wisdom, we come out into the family, the community, the world.
- Eknath Easwaran, God Makes the Rivers Flow (1982), pp. 18-19
- When, in Insight-practice, the meditator has achieved some skill up to the stage of Calming, he will, in due course, become aware of the fact that two processes are involved here: the physical process (rūpa) of breathing or abdominal movement, and the mental process (nāma) of knowing it. ... If the awareness of these two processes has become strong through repetition, they will present themselves regularly as a pairwise progression of physical and mental phenomena: breathing, knowing, breathing, knowing, ...
- Nyanaponika, The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, pp. 111-112