an introduction to meditation practice - .an introduction to meditation practice the but>t>liist

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A n I n t r o d u c t i o n t o M e d i t a t i o n P r a c t i c e

The But>t>liist Mefcitetiow Society of N o r t h e r n British Columbia

Introduction T h e p r a c t i c e o f m e d i t a t i o n e x i s t s i n a l l r e l i g i o n s , a l l c u l t u r e s . I t h a s a l w a y s b e e n a

p a r t o f t h e h u m a n w a y o f t h i n k i n g . E v e r y o n e , a t o n e t i m e o r a n o t h e r , h a s l e t t h e c a r e s o f o r d i n a r y l i f e f a l l a w a y a n d r e s t e d t h e i r m i n d i n a p l a c e w h e r e t h e r e a r e n o t h o u g h t s , i n a w a r e n e s s o f w h a t s i m p l y i s . U s u a l l y t h i s i s a f l e e t i n g m o m e n t , a f e w s e c o n d s , w h e n o n e p a u s e s d u r i n g a w a l k i n t h e w o o d s , o r i n h a l e s t h e f r a g r a n c e o f a f l o w e r . I t c o u l d b e a m o m e n t o f s i l e n c e i n a c h u r c h , o r t h a t f e w s e c o n d s u p o n a w a k e n i n g e a c h m o r n i n g , b e f o r e t h e t h o u g h t s o f t h e d a y b e g i n t o t u m b l e i n .

M e d i t a t i o n p r a c t i c e i s s i m p l y t r a i n i n g y o u r m i n d t o e x t e n d t h i s m o m e n t o f a w a r e -n e s s , t o g r a d u a l l y s h i f t y o u r w a y o f e x p e r i e n c i n g l i f e . I t c a n h e l p y o u r e c o g n i z e h o w y o u r e l a t e e m o t i o n a l l y t o a l l t h e t h i n g s i n y o u r l i f e , a n d t o t r a n s f o r m u n h a p p i n e s s a n d n e g a t i v e r e a c t i o n s t o f e e l i n g s o f c o n t e n t m e n t , j o y a n d c o m p a s s i o n f o r o t h e r s .

T h e r e a r e m a n y t e c h n i q u e s f o r m e d i t a t i o n p r a c t i c e . U s u a l l y a n o b j e c t i s u s e d , s o m e t h i n g t o f o c u s o n , r e t u r n y o u r a t t e n t i o n t o , a g a i n a n d a g a i n , a s y o u r t h o u g h t s i n e v i t a b l y w a n d e r . I n m o s t t r a d i t i o n s t h e b a s i c f o c u s i s y o u r b r e a t h , s o m e t h i n g w h i c h i s a l w a y s w i t h y o u . A s y o u w o r k w i t h t h i s , y o u p l a c e a s y o u r g o a l n o t h i n g m o r e t h a n s i m p l y r e s t i n g y o u r m i n d i n i t s n a t u r a l o p e n s t a t e .

I n o u r l i v e s w h i c h a r e f i l l e d w i t h s o m a n y a c t i v i t i e s a n d i n f o r m a t i o n , f i n d i n g t h i s n a t u r a l s t a t e o f m i n d c a n s e e m i m p o s s i b l e . I n y o u r e f f o r t s , a l w a y s h a v i n g t h e o b -j e c t y o u r b r e a t h t o r e t u r n t o , y o u w i l l g r a d u a l l y n o t i c e s u b t l e c h a n g e s . Y o u ' l l f i n d t h a t g e n t l y g u i d i n g y o u r m i n d b a c k t o t h e b r e a t h w h e n i t h a s w a n d e r e d o f f i n t o d i s c u r s i v e t h o u g h t b e c o m e s e a s i e r a n d e a s i e r . Y o u ' l l f i n d t h i s g e n t l e n e s s w i t h y o u r -s e l f w i l l b e g i n t o a p p e a r i n h o w y o u r e l a t e t o s i t u a t i o n s i n e v e r y d a y l i f e . O f t e n y o u r f r i e n d s a n d f a m i l y w i l l n o t i c e b e f o r e y o u d o !

I n t h i s l i t t l e m a n u a l y o u w i l l f i n d e x c e r p t s f r o m t h e w r i t i n g s o f d i f f e r e n t t e a c h e r s o n t h e s u b j e c t o f m e d i t a t i o n p r a c t i c e . T h e t e a c h i n g s a r e f r o m d i f f e r e n t B u d d h i s t t r a d i t i o n s , s o y o u w i l l f i n d a v a r i e t y o f m e t h o d s a n d i d e a s t o w o r k w i t h . E v e n t u a l l y y o u w i l l f i n d o n e t h a t w o r k s b e s t f o r y o u a n d y o u ' l l w a n t t o e x p l o r e t h a t t e a c h i n g m o r e d e e p l y .

O n t h e l a s t p a g e y o u w i l l f i n d a l i s t o f r e c o m m e n d e d b o o k s . S o m e o f t h e s e c a n b e f o u n d i n t h e p u b l i c l i b a r y , a n d a l l c a n b e o r d e r e d f r o m y o u r i n d e p e n d e n t b o o k s e l l e r i f t h e y a r e n o t i n s t o c k .

M A Y A L L B E I N G S B E N E F I T !

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Establishing a Daily Meditation f r o m A P a t h with H e a r t , by Jack K o r n f i e l d

F i r s t s e l e c t a s u i t a b l e s p a c e f o r y o u r r e g u l a r m e d i t a t i o n . I t c a n b e w h e r e v e r y o u c a n s i t e a s i l y w i t h m i n i m a l d i s t u r b a n c e : a c o m e r o f y o u r b e d r o o m o r a n y o t h e r q u i e t s p o t i n y o u r h o m e . P l a c e a m e d i t a t i o n c u s h i o n o r c h a i r t h e r e f o r y o u r u s e . A r r a n g e w h a t i s a r o u n d s o t h a t y o u a r e r e m i n d e d o f y o u r m e d i t a t i v e p u r p o s e , s o t h a t i t f e e l s l i k e a s a c r e d a n d p e a c e f u l s p a c e . Y o u m a y w i s h t o m a k e a s i m p l e a l t a r w i t h a f l o w e r o r s a c r e d i m a g e , o r p l a c e y o u r f a v o r i t e s p i r i t u a l b o o k s t h e r e f o r a f e w m o m e n t s o f i n s p i r i n g r e a d i n g . L e t y o u r s e l f e n j o y c r e a t i n g t h i s s p a c e f o r y o u r s e l f .

T h e n s e l e c t a r e g u l a r t i m e f o r p r a c t i c e t h a t s u i t s y o u r s c h e d u l e a n d t e m p e r a m e n t . I f y o u a r e a m o r n i n g p e r s o n , e x p e r i m e n t w i t h a s i t t i n g b e f o r e b r e a k f a s t . I f e v e n i n g fits y o u r t e m p e r a m e n t o r s c h e d u l e b e t t e r , t r y t h a t f i r s t . B e g i n w i t h s i t t i n g t e n o r t w e n t y m i n u t e s a t a t i m e . L a t e r y o u c a n s i t l o n g e r o r m o r e f r e q u e n t l y . D a i l y m e d i t a -t i o n c a n b e c o m e l i k e b a t h i n g o r t o o t h b r u s h i n g . I t c a n b r i n g a r e g u l a r c l e a n s i n g a n d c a l m i n g t o y o u r h e a r t a n d m i n d .

F i n d a p o s t u r e o n t h e c h a i r o r c u s h i o n i n w h i c h y o u c a n e a s i l y s i t e r e c t w i t h o u t b e i n g r i g i d . L e t y o u r b o d y b e f i r m l y p l a n t e d o n t h e e a r t h , y o u r h a n d s r e s t i n g e a s i l y , y o u r h e a r t s o f t , y o u r e y e s c l o s e d g e n t l y . A t f i r s t f e e l y o u r b o d y a n d c o n s c i o u s l y s o f t e n a n y o b v i o u s t e n s i o n . L e t g o o f a n y h a b i t u a l t h o u g h t s o r p l a n s . B r i n g y o u r a t t e n t i o n t o f e e l t h e s e n s a t i o n s o f y o u r b r e a t h i n g . T a k e a f e w d e e p b r e a t h s t o s e n s e w h e r e y o u c a n f e e l t h e b r e a t h m o s t e a s i l y , a s c o o l n e s s o r t i n g l i n g i n t h e n o s t r i l s o r t h r o a t , a s m o v e m e n t o f t h e c h e s t , o r r i s e a n d fell o f t h e b e l l y . T h e n l e t y o u r b r e a t h b e n a t u r a l . F e e l t h e s e n s a t i o n s o f y o u r n a t u r a l b r e a t h i n g v e r y c a r e f u l l y , r e l a x i n g i n t o e a c h b r e a t h a s y o u f e e l i t , n o t i c i n g h o w t h e s o f t s e n s a t i o n s o f b r e a t h i n g c o m e a n d g o w i t h t h e c h a n g i n g b r e a t h .

When the truth does not fill our body and mind, we think that we have enough. When the truth fills our body and mind, we realize that something is missing. For example, when we view the four directions from a boat on the ocean where no land

is in sight, we see only a circle and nothing else. No other Aspects are apparent. However, this ocean is neither round nor square, and its qualities are infinite in variety. It is-like a palace. It is like a jewel. It just seems circular as f a r as our eyes can reach at

the time. The ten thousand dharmas are likewise like this. Although ordinary life and enlightened life assume many aspects, we only recognize and

understand through practice what the penetrating power of our vision can reach. In order to appreciate the ten thousand dharmas, we should know that although they

may look round or square, the other qualities of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; furthermore, other universes lie in all quarters.

It is so not only around ourselves but also right here, and in a single drop of water. from the Geniokoan by Z e n master Dogen ( J 2 0 0 - 1 2 5 3 )

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Jack K o r n f i e l d is a therapist, author and meditation instructor. After r e t u r n i n g f r o m Asia i n 1 9 7 2 , where he lived as a

Buddhist monk for six years, K o r n f i e l d co-founded the I n s i g h t M e d i t a t i o n Society. H e holds a P h . D . i n c l i n i c a l psychology.

A f t e r a f e w b r e a t h s y o u r m i n d w i l l p r o b a b l y w a n d e r . W h e n y o u n o t i c e t h i s , n o m a t t e r h o w l o n g o r s h o r t a t i m e y o u h a v e b e e n a w a y , s i m p l y c o m e b a c k t o t h e n e x t b r e a t h . B e f o r e y o u r e t u r n , y o u c a n m i n d f u l l y a c k n o w l e d g e w h e r e y o u h a v e g o n e w i t h a s o f t w o r d i n t h e b a c k o f y o u r m i n d , s u c h a s " t h i n k i n g , " " w a n d e r i n g , " " h e a r -i n g , " " i t c h i n g . " A f t e r s o f t l y a n d s i l e n t l y n a m i n g t o y o u r s e l f w h e r e y o u r a t t e n t i o n h a s b e e n , g e n t l y a n d d i r e c t l y r e t u r n t o f e e l t h e n e x t b r e a t h . L a t e r o n i n y o u r m e d i t a t i o n y o u w i l l b e a b l e t o w o r k w i t h t h e p l a c e s y o u r m i n d w a n d e r s t o , f o r t h e i n i t i a l t r a i n -i n g , o n e w o r d o f a c k n o w l e d g m e n t a n d a s i m p l e r e t u r n t o t h e b r e a t h i s b e s t .

A s y o u s i t , l e t t h e b r e a t h c h a n g e r h y t h m s n a t u r a l l y , a l l

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