Editor’s note: Insight Meditation teacher Peter Doobinin’s latest book, Skillful Pleasure: The Buddha’s Path for Developing Skillful Pleasure, is an exploration into pleasure’s role in our meditation practice. Pleasure is something we might shy away from, or be told outright not to seek, but Doobinin writes that the Buddha often taught about pleasure when instructing on breath meditation. The following excerpt is the third step in mindfulness of breathing that allows us to develop skillful internal pleasure; the preceding steps are putting the mind on the breath and cultivating an easeful, pleasureable breath.
When the body is suffused with easeful breath energy, we experience pleasure. This is the skillful internal pleasure that we seek to cultivate in following the Buddha’s middle path. The quality of physical ease (piti) gives rise to the mental quality of pleasure (sukkha)….