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Lesson 1: Introduction to Meditation

Belonged to Meditation and Mental Improvement: Basic Knowlege of Meditation


Contrary to popular Buddhist opinion, meditation is not intended as a practice exclusively for monks and nuns. Meditation is accessible to everyone as a way to train and develop the mind to become more stable, focussed and effective. From a Buddhist point of view, meditation is also a practical way to bring happiness in life for laypeople and as a way for monastics to attain liberation. Meditation is not just for Buddhists however, but can be practised by those of all religions or even those who have no religion. It is importance to practice meditation first-hand because it is not by reading about it or discussing it that practitioners will get results. Furthermore, if one has any doubts which come up as the result of practice, one can further one’s understanding by seeking guidance from those more experienced in meditation than oneself. Practice cannot be substituted for by even the most detailed study of meditation theory.


What is Meditation?


Our human being consists of both body and mind. We usually take good care of our body but ignore to do so with our mind. The healthy person needs to maintain balance of body and mind. Stress, health problems, the need for self-realization or spiritual impulse are still all signs that the balance has been disturbed. Meditation is the effectual tool to restore the balance between body and mind. Meditation is thus not a mystical phenomenon. It belongs to all mankind, like the air we all breath, the sun or the moon.


The Different Types of Meditation


Meditation is a technique for unifying and focusing the mind. there are 2 types of meditation:

  • meditation focusing outside the body (used by hermits and recluses)

  • meditation focusing inside the body (mainstream meditation)

There are at least 40 types of meditation focusing inside the body including

  • meditation visualizing 10 different objects

  • meditation on 10 categories of foulness of the body

  • meditation contemplating on 10 contemplations including breathing meditation

  • meditation on four elements

  • meditation on foulness of food

  • meditation on the four immeasurables namely lovingkindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity.

  • meditation on specious air, consciousness, emptiness, neither conscious nor conscious state of mind.


Dhammakaya Meditation


The Dhammakaya meditation method was revived in Thailand almost 100 years ago by the Great Master Phramongkolthepmuni, famously known as Luangpor Wat Paknam. It is one of the most popular meditation techniques practiced by Buddhists and non-Buddhists around the world. The method is simple, easy, and effective. Everyone can learn how to do it and can achieve inner peace and happiness that you may never would have known existed.

“Dhammakaya” is a Pali word, which means “Body of Enlightenment”. The term appears in many places in the Buddhist scriptures of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana (Tibetan) schools. The uniqueness of the Dhammakaya meditation is that it teaches about the center of the body as the natural home of the human mind as well as the inner gateway to enlightenment.

The stiller the mind is at its natural home, the deeper the happiness one experiences. Dhammakaya meditation also has a moral impact on the mind. A person who meditates regularly will become gentler, kinder, and more peaceful. Dhammakaya

incorporates:

1. breathing meditation 2. mindfulness of the body 3. meditation on a bright object

Dhammakaya meditation is characterized by:

1. the use of the centre of the body 2. the stopping of the mind is the goal

Dhammakaya Meditation has different styles of practice. The ‘meditation for beginners’ course will help you choose the one that suits you best.


Scientific Evidence for Benefits of Meditation


More than 150 scientific studies of meditation have been made since 1935. Research shows Dhammakaya Meditation reduces stress. Meditation reduces stress by

- reducing blood pressure, - reducing heart rate, - reducing heaviness of breathing, - reducing levels of cortisol in the blood.

Dhammakaya meditation can also help people suffering from depression. Even with no problems you can benefit from Dhammakaya meditation. Meditation can help to develop your good character and personality. Meditation enhances what you have.

Meditation does not replace other beliefs or change them.


Step-by-Step Instruction


  1. The sitting posture, which has been found to be the most conducive for meditation, is the half-lotus position. Sit upright with your back straight, cross-legged with your right leg over the left one. You can sit on a cushion or pillow to make your position more comfortable. Nothing should impede your breathing or circulation. Your hands should rest palms-up on your lap, and the tip of your right index finger should touch your left thumb. Feel as if you are one with the ground on which you sit. Feel that you could sit happily for as long as you like.

  2. Softly close your eyes as if you are about to fall  asleep. Relax every part of your body, beginning with the muscles in your face, then relax your face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, trunk and legs. Make sure there are no signs of tension on your forehead or across your shoulders.

  3. Close your eyes gently but not completely. Stop thinking about any worldly things. Feel as if you were sitting alone; around you is nothing and no one. Create a feeling of happiness and spaciousness in your mind.

  4. Feel that your body is an empty space, without organs, muscles or tissues. Gently and contentedly rest your attention at a point near the seventh base of the mind at the center of the body. Whatever experience arises in the mind, simply observe without attempting to interfere with it. This way, your mind will become gradually purer and inner experience will unfold.

  5. If you find that you cannot dissuade the mind from wandering, then your mind needs an inner object as a focus of attention. Gently imagine that a bright, clear, crystal sphere, about the size of the tip of your little finger, is located inside at the center of the body. Maybe, you cannot imagine anything, but later, you’ll be able to see a crystal ball with increasing clarity. Allow your mind to come to rest at the center of the crystal ball. Use the subtlest of effort and you’ll find that the crystal ball becomes brighter and clearer.

  6. If you find that your mind still wanders from the crystal ball, you can bring the mind back to a standstill by repeating the mantra, “Samma-arahang” silently, as if the sound of the mantra is coming from the center of the crystal ball. Repeat the mantra over and over again without counting.

  7. Don’t entertain thoughts in your mind. Don’t analyze what’s going on in the meditation. Allow the mind to come to a standstill. That is all that you need to do. If you find that you cannot imagine anything, repeat the mantra “Samma-arahang”, silently and continuously in the mind. If you are not sure about the location of the center of the body, just know that anywhere in the area of your abdomen will do. Don’t be disappointed if you find your mind wandering. It is only natural for beginners. Make effort continuously, keep your mind bright, clear and pure, and in the end, you will achieve success.

  8. Keep repeating the mantra. Eventually the sound of the mantra will fade away. At that point a new bright, clear, crystal sphere will arise of its own accord. This stage is called “pathama magga” (primary path). At this stage the shining crystal sphere is connected firmly to the mind and is seated at the center of the body. You will experience a great happiness that you have never known before. With a perfectly still mind focused at the center of the crystal sphere, it will give way to a succession of increasingly purer transcendental inner bodies, until it reaches the “Body of Enlightenment” known as “Dhammakaya”.



Homework

  • Introduce yourself to the class mate

  • Meditate at home daily and share your experience on your meditation (how do you feel?/ does it work for you?). below here you can leave your suggestion or comment to improve the class.

  • Practice homework 10 exercises