Category: Meditation

The Meaning of Life


In and of Life, only this moment is true. When the conditions that make up this very moment is gone, life becomes an illusion. So at each and every moment, we have to live seriously; for each and every thing we do, we must do so seriously; and for each and every person we meet, we must treat them seriously because “conditions come and go and when they are gone, illusions set in and the truth is no more.” Do not let yourself regret what is deemed to be too late. Time passed is past, and we can only look to the future.The most precious and the very thing we need to cherish is this very moment — Life is a serious of kSaNa (in Sanskrit (क्षण ), and the meaning of life is to make every single moment count.

The Shifting Nature


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

THE SHIFTING REALITY
By Venerable Sakya M. Longyen
Abbot
Avatamsaka Monastery of Canada

Let’s cast a sidelong glance on the unpleasantness of or in life, still breathing; then with loving-kindness pull yourself back to the anchor of meditation, your home base, your breathing.
Take one breath at a time and ask yourself how did that breathe feel like.

Hmm! That feet so good!
Now focus about 75% of your attention on that part of your body or mind where you are feeling good and cast a sidelong glance at the unpleasant emotion or sensation that you are also feeling.

You are exploring your mind through meditation.
See that we have more positive power than the negative and the pain.
This is a healing process.
Everybody suffers in their own ways.
You’re not the only one.
Being aware, be kind to others, to your enemies, or to yourself.

Recite the following:
May I be kind to all beings, in all directions!
May the suffering suffer no more!
May the fear stricken have no fear!
May there be everlasting peace on earth!
May you and I and everyone else be happy, at ease with ourselves, and grow spiritually old together every day.
Amen.

Visit us at:
The Avatamsaka Garden of LifeThe Avatamsaka Garden of Life

A Response


Source: A Response

Christian Poetry, Christianity, Contemplative, Faith, God, Jesus, Meditation, Poem, Poems, Poetry, Prayer, Spiritual

A Response

Winter moon of morning 
Lingers in the dawn 
Reflection on the sun 
Sends its light along

Rippling on water
In waves of peaceful flow 
Dancing on a palette
Its song for us to know

I am not the source 
But one who eye can’t see
Creator of all things 
Of purpose set for me

I’m but a response 
Of gifts poured from above 
My prayer for you this day

To reflect my love

 

Our Avatamsaka Dhyāna View of the Sentient World


Avalokiteshvara yidam

禪觀有情世界
在日常生活中體驗諸行無常
在起心動念中覺證諸法無我
在一息尚存中成就涅槃寂靜
在法界遷流中了悟緣起性空
Our Avatamsaka Dhyāna View of This Sentient World
Experience the Impermanence of all actions in our everyday life.
Wake up to the fact that all thoughts and intentions are void of substance.
Be one with and listen to the harmonious unstruck sound of silence of Om in Nirvana before you breathe out your last and final breath of life.
In the never ending shifts and flows of the Dharma realms wake up and come to the inner-standing and realisation that the original nature of all causes and conditions is substantively void.
From your humble gardener Venerable Sakya M. Longyen

A State and Act of Contemplation


‘Kuan’ is both a State and Act of Contemplation

The word ‘kuan’ as used in Chinese Ch’an practice and in esoteric practice carries different meanings respectively.

In Ch’an practices, it is a noun, meaning a realized state of contemplation manifested after a practitioner has eliminated all his illusions through the practice of vipassana or Ch’an. Such a state can be manifested as heterodox or orthodox, or as imperfect or perfect. The practitioner must then follow the guidance of his guru, carefully compare his realized state with what is written and taught in the sutras, and adhere to what is orthodox and perfect so as to enter the state of samadhi in real life.

In esoteric practices, however, the word ‘kuan’ refers to an act of immersing oneself in a physical and mental state so as to achieve contemplated reality. The practitioner puts himself in real life situations to carry out such an acts of contemplation according to esoterics. Thus esoteric Buddhism emphasizes ‘kuan’, both in action and at rest.

Moreover, in esoteric practices, special emphases are placed on the arrangement of the altar and use of mandalas. The four main classes of mandalas used in esoteric practices are (1) the maha-mandalas, representing the Buddha statue or image, (2) the Dharma or seed mandalas, representing the seed syllables of the mantras as embodiment of sutra texts, (3) the samaya mandalas, representing the instruments and mudras used in the ceremonial practices, and (4) karma mandalas, representing the descriptions or expressions of actions and accomplishments of of the Buddha having the function of cause and effect. All of such mandalas are used in association with mudras, mantras, and Dharma texts, forming the ‘triple dharma seals of one reality’ by uniting the body, speech, and mind. A practitioner is thus able to enter the state of the Dharmakaya.

V. M. Sakya Longyen
Huayen on Indra’s Net
mahavaipulya@groups.facebook.com

EMOTIONS


EMOTIONS

buddha-ascetic

Do men cry to release their emotions? What do women think of men who do so? There are many people who are not sure how to communicate their emotions and so they repress them. They appear detached, distant, and cool to the point of unable to feel intense passions such as love, sadness, or joy, but really they are hurting themselves. That being said, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing that see a woman’s vulnerability as a chance to make a pass on her.

I’m a Buddhist monk of the Huayan tradition. The Huayan Sutra, or Avatamsaka Sutra in Sanskrit, was the first Sutra Buddha spoke simultaneously to all beings in myriad worlds of the universe, right after his enlightenment. I experience various types of releasing in the throat chakra area, such as crying. Through my Buddhist meditative practice, I see the nature of attachments and that emotions are attachments. By letting emotions go, we free ourselves from such attachments. However, being human means we all have emotions. Emotions like loving-kindness, compassion, and benevolence are good, while greed, jealousy, spite, vengeance, and hatred are bad.

Buddha was extremely ascetic to the point of defying Death right before His Enlightenment. He looked like a dried-up skeleton in a brown skin bag. In this Latter Day of the Dharma when true Buddha Dharma is on the decline, I see that Tantric Buddhist monks are self-indulgent people surrounded by young girls and women. And when a tantric Buddhist monk seeded a female disciple and fathered a son, the son would be like his father.

Ashley Men are human beings who should cry. I don’t judge men for needing that release. I’ve seen a lot of men cry. I wish there wasn’t a stigma attached to it.

I like men who are comfortable being emotional. It’s when we try to detach ourselves from those feelings that we create deeper issues. My boyfriend gets shamelessly misty during movies.

Leanna I tend to suppress my emotions so I don’t cry much, when I do cry I lock myself away from everyone.

Mark Here’s one thing about women regarding men crying. They believe it’s OK to cry, it’s a human thing and it is OK, but when a man does that, they don’t like him.

It’s been my experience, women do like traditional masculinity. Most women, because there’s always anomaly. You wouldn’t believe how many women like masculine men. My estimate is at least 80% of all female population.

Women, simply aren’t attracted to a man who’s mentally weaker than them, it’s in their DNA. Imagine this, you have a crybaby boyfriend, do you really consider him to be the father of your child who would protect his family in the time of danger?

Maria Nothing wrong with crying. I think there is a problem if a person doesn’t cry to release pain and emotions. The inability to form attachments, deep and meaningful relationships is a sad off spin to this.

If I see a man crying, my instinct is to hug and comfort him. This has nothing to do with like or sexual attraction. It is the human instinct to comfort someone in their time of need. One can’t have sex with everyone just because they are male.

If it was someone that I was in a relationship with or considering having a relationship, him crying would not put me off. Men are taught that it’s a sign of weakness if they cry. It maybe true some women might be put off. These type of women are generally not loving or nurturing types. Thankfully, we are not all the same.

There’s huge difference between men who cry and show their emotions and men who are that submissive. A man who is masculine but shows his emotions is not weak. He is in touch and comfortable with himself and has the ability to express hurt. This takes maturity.

斯薇 I dislike crying and emotions but I love emoji. 😂😂

Jaesun I do but hardly when it’s super emotional that it needs to be released like a volcano. And when it’s so, I will be alone and cry it out and let it out of your system.

Phi I cry, I rant, I beat, I do a lot of things. It’s like a rainbow of emotions.

JunSu Emotions are diverse and we should let them be if we feel the need. Now if we want to avoid one, we must change our way to think about the things that can make us cry, for exemple, then the emotion will disapear, or just be expressed in an other way. No need to force it. Just change you point of view.

Mindfulness Meditation


Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is the Meditation on the Universal Nature of All Beings―
The One Thing That Connects Us All.

By Sakya Longyen

Life Begets Death

Buddha said to a Sramana, “How long is the span of a person’s life?” “It is but a few days,” was the answer. Buddha said, “You have not understood.” Buddha asked another Sramana, who replied, “It is the time taken to eat a single meal.” To this Buddha replied in the same way and asked a third, “How long is the span of a person’s life?” “It is the time taken by a single breath,” was the reply. “Excellent,” said Buddha, “You understand the Way.” ―Section 38 of the Sutta of Forty-Two Sections

Purpose

The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to understand the true nature of existence. It may be called Quietism. As you might guess, its purpose is for us to learn to stay very quiet, very still, and if we do that long enough, we become sinless. That’s because we are not doing anything. Mindfulness meditation strengthens attention and attention strengthens willpower.

Environment

Go to a quiet place where we will be alone and not disturbed.

Posture

Sit in a comfortable posture and set our upper body erect and relaxed. Place our hands on the lap, palms upward, with right hand on top of the left and the thumbs touching at the tips. This Mudra Amitabha Buddha is the Dhyana mudra of meditation which indicates the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity. Close our eyes or leave them half-open but focus on the point of contact between the tips of the thumbs.

A nicely straight back has all the vertebrae stacked on one another. This is to ensure that energy can flow up and down the back without any blockage. Leaning against anything stops the energy flow and causes sleepiness to arise.

Also, we must sit without moving the body for any reason. Please do not wriggle the toes or fingers or move the hands to rub or scratch or change the posture in any way until after the sitting is over. Any movement breaks the continuity of the practice and this causes us to start all over again.

To be truly mindful means to open up and allow whatever arises to present itself in the present moment. Moving while sitting means that we are not being mindful at all.

To sit as still as a Buddha image is the best! Actually, the only allowable movement during meditation is to straighten the back when it starts to curve or slump, as long as it is not done too often.

More advanced meditative postures or practices are discussed in the Mindfulness of Dhamma section.

Duration

For the serious beginners, it is recommended to sit not less than 45 minutes at a time. Start by meditating for 15 minutes every day for a week and then extend the time by five minutes each day for a week until we are meditating for 45 minutes. But when a sitting is good, please stay with that sitting for as long as it lasts.

A good sitting might last for one hour or one hour and ten minutes, or longer. Sitting for one or two or three hours is fine only when we are ready to sit comfortably for such long hours.

If we sit in the same way which causes pain to arise every time, then we are causing ourselves unnecessary physical discomfort.

Establish Mindfulness

Bring our attention to the present moment. Focus the mind on the breath, coming in and going out, in and out. To deepen our concentration, try counting:

Inhale and exhale. Say silently “one.”
Inhale and exhale. Say silently “two.”
Inhale and exhale. Say silently “three.”
Continue up to ten.

Inhale and exhale. Say silently “ten.”
Inhale and exhale. Say silently “nine.”
Inhale and exhale. Say silently “eight.”
Continue down to one.

When we complete this round of counting, we move on to the next stage of mindfulness of the breath.

Mindfulness of the Breath

We may watch our in-breath and out-breath at the start but we should not force our breath in or out. We should just be aware of our breath as it passes in and out naturally in its own way. We only have to be watchful, mindful, and attentive to our breath. Fix our mind and attention on the spot the breath first touches, the upper lip or the tip of the nose, as the case may be. To be conscious and mindful of, or attentive to, our breath is the first step of meditation on breathing.

Notice that when we inhale and exhale with mindfulness, we experience the feeling of each breath. The sensations change as the breath changes. So we observe the changing breath and the changing sensations. We find that sometimes the breath is shallow; other times it is deep. Sometimes it is easy to breathe; other times, not so easy. We watch these variations.

Along with this, we notice another pattern of subtle feelings, a little bit of anxiety and relief of anxiety, pressure and release of pressure. Mindfulness helps us notice that when the lungs are full of air, we feel a slight pressure or tension in our lungs. As we breathe out, this tension is slowly released. But when there is no more air in our lungs, we experience a degree of anxiety because there is no air in our lungs. So we breathe in again, and this anxiety fades away. As it does, we experience a degree of pleasure but also the return of pressure.

We soon discover that there is no escape from these feelings. But even this pattern has much to teach us. When we experience tension, we remind ourselves not to be disappointed. When we experience pleasure, we remember not to cling to it.

Mindfulness of the Breath-body

Next, we develop mindfulness over the extension of each in-breath and out-breath. When we breathe in long, we understand, “I breathe in long.” When we breathe out short, we understand, “I breathe out short.” Understanding here means that we do not concentrate on the breath to the exclusion of anything else.

Then, we pay attention to how we feel at the start, the middle, and the end of each in-breath and out-breath. This awareness of the entire breathing cycle is called mindfulness of the breath-body. While the mind is engaged with the breath-body, the mind and the breath are relaxed. When they are relaxed, the rest of our body is also relaxed. This is so because the breath is part of the body.

Paying attention to the breath-body is an aspect of being mindful of the body in the body. Mindfulness helps us see that the breath and the body are not separate. When the entire body, including the breath, is relaxed and the mind tranquil and still, we say that we have tranquillised our bodily formation (more of this in the Mindfulness of Body section).

Mindfulness of Expansion and Contraction

Another way to practise mindfulness of breathing is to notice the expansion and contraction of our body. When we breathe in, the belly expands, and when we breathe out, it contracts. But actually, the movement of the belly is the second stage of the body’s rising and falling. The first stage occurs at the tip of the nose. Inhaling is rising and exhaling is falling. With mindfulness, we notice microscopically our body’s expansion as we breathe in and contraction as we breathe out.

While noticing these events, we also feel expansion, contraction, and other subtle movements in the whole body. These same motions occur in every material object. The whole universe is actually expanding and contracting. To practise mindfulness of breathing, we need awareness only of the expansion and contraction of our own body.

Mindfulness of Internal and External Elements

Another way we become aware of the relationship between the breath and the body is by noting that the breath is made up of five elements―earth, water, fire, air, and space. All material objects, including the body, are composed of these elements.

As we practise mindfulness of breathing, we recognise that it is the breath’s earth element―its form or shape―that gives rise to pressure, release, and other sensations of touch in the nose, lungs, and belly.

Similarly, we notice that the breath is dry when its water element is low. When we are aware of moisture in the breath, its water element is high.

The temperature of the breath is due to its fire element. Heat fluctuates. When its fire element is high, we call the breath hot. When it goes down, we call the breath cold.

The function of the air element is motion and energy. We experience the movement of the breath because of its air element. The space element is anything that is space, spatial, and clung to in our body such as the holes in the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, that aperture whereby what is eaten, drunk, consumed, and tasted gets swallowed, and where it collects, and whereby it is excreted from below.

In addition, the parts of the body―including the breath―are described as internal or external. The elements inside the body are internal; those outside are external. If we think about this distinction, it may occur to us that the breath that we have inhaled is internal. When we exhale, this internal breath mixes with the external air. Then the breath is external. We might also say that the internal body is inhaling, and the external body is exhaling.

In the Maha Rahulovada Sutta, Buddha explains the meaning of the words “internal” and “external” as they apply to the five elements of the body. In terms of the air element, he says:

“What, Rahula, is the air element? The air element may be either internal or external. What is the internal air element? Whatever internally belonging to oneself is air, airy, and clung to2, that is up-going winds, down-going winds, wind in the belly, wind in the bowels, winds that course through the limbs, in-breath and out-breath, or whatever else internally belonging to oneself is air, airy, and clung to, this is called the internal air element.

“Now both the internal air element and the external air element are simply air element. And that should be seen with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, and this is not my self.’ When one sees it thus, as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the air element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the air element.”

Explanations of the rest of the elements can be found in the Mahā-Rahulovada Sutta.

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness as conserved in the Mahā-Satipatthana Sutta are Mindfulness of the Body, Mindfulness of Feeling, Mindfulness of the Mind, and Mindfulness of Dhamma.

Mindfulness of the Body3 includes meditation on the in-breath and out-breath, the four postures of walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, clear understanding, contemplation on impurities, the four elements, and the nine stages of decomposition of corpses. We develop mindfulness of the body in order to gain awareness of the impurities of the body and to tranquillise the bodily formation. To tranquillise the bodily formation is to notice the tightness which arises in the head with every arising of a consciousness (i.e., mental object, creation, or formation), and let that tightness go, while on the in-breath and out-breath. Then we feel the mind open up, expand, relax and become tranquil.

Being ever mindful of the body―including the breath, we become aware of the body as it actually is, with proper wisdom, thus: becoming detached for the self and realising that the individual self is an illusion. As we go deeper in meditation, we also see that there is not much difference between this body and any other body, thus: ‘becoming aware and realising just as we are, so is the world.’

When we see the connection between ourselves, our environment, and all living things, we develop loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity.

Mindfulness of Feeling4 is the meditation on the aspect of suffering arising from our feelings. We examine the feelings that arise when the breath first touches the tip of the nose or upper lip and see that they are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and non-abiding ―feelings that we cling to physically, emotionally, and mentally, either worldly or spiritually.

We remind ourselves that our underlying preference for pleasant feelings often arises from desire, which can lead to greed for sensual pleasure. But when we crave pleasure, we always end up suffering, because, like all impermanent things, pleasure eventually changes or disappears.

We also remember that our underlying tendency to avoid unpleasant feelings often arises from resentment, which can lead to anger. We observe these tendencies, our greed and our anger, relax our mind, and then let them go, returning our attention to the breath.

Suffering manifests itself in our birth, ageing, illness, death, separation from loved ones and loss of things we hold dearly, association with the hated, unsatisfied wants, and the five aggregates of clinging to material form, feeling, perception, mental formation, and consciousness.

Mindfulness of the Mind5 is the meditation on the perception of impermanent, unsatisfactory, and non-abiding nature of the mind. When we meditate on the eight pairs of transient mental formations and see that they are impermanent and therefore unsatisfactory and that they are non-abiding, the conceit ‘I am’ will be abandoned.

By observing the shifting contents of the mind carefully and separating out anything that sustains suffering and illusion, we tranquillise the mental formations. The world begins in the consciousness―As we are, so it the world. When the mind is tranquil and still, arising, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts (agents) will not invade our mind and remain.

Mindfulness of Dhamma6 is the meditation on the impermanent and non-abiding nature of the self, i.e., ego, in all dhammas. All material objects are made up of their constituent elements and aggregates. We can label any projection of a concept we know all too well; we can name phenomena that are the objects of our perception but none of these have an ego, self, or other abiding substance in themselves. In other words, everything in nature is impermanent.

Mindfulness of dhamma is the awareness and mindfulness, on whatever occasion, of whatever we do, physically or verbally, during the daily routine of work in our private, public or professional life. Whether we walk, stand, sit, lie down, or sleep, whether we stretch or bend our limbs, whether we look around, whether we put on our clothes, whether we talk or keep silence, whether we eat or drink, and even whether we answer the calls of nature―in these and other activities, we should be fully aware and mindful of the act we perform at the moment all the time.

In other words, we should live in the present moment, in the present action, at all times. That does not mean that we should not think of the past or the future at all. On the contrary, we should think of them in relation to the present moment, the present action, when and where it is relevant.

By developing meditation on the dhamma, we unravel the ego’s version of reality and pierce through the ego’s claim that it knows how to live properly. By being mindful of our being, we let go of materialism in both its crude and subtle form, thus overcoming the distraction of thoughts and sensations.

When we develop and cultivate mindfulness of dhamma, we will detach ourselves from our ego attachments.

The Four Divine Abodes

In the Maha Rahulovada Sutta, Buddha teaches Rahula the four Divine Abodes of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity.

“Rahula, develop meditation on loving-kindness. For when you develop meditation on loving-kindness, any ill-will will be abandoned.

“Rahula, develop meditation on compassion. For when you develop meditation on compassion, any cruelty will be abandoned.

“Rahula, develop meditation on appreciative joy. For when you develop meditation on appreciative joy, any discontent will be abandoned.

“Rahula, develop meditation on equanimity. For when you develop meditation on equanimity, any aversion will be abandoned.”

Actually, a person who is always mindful will accept any kinds of pain, emotional upset, physical discomforts, or even death with equanimity, full awareness or strong attention and not identifying with it or taking that pain personally.

Sixteen Steps of Mindfulness of Breathing

In the Mahā-Rahulovada Sutta, Rahula asks Buddha how is mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and great benefit. Buddha says:

Here Rahula, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, sits down. Having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

Breathing in long, he understands, ‘I breathe in long,’ or breathing out long, he understands, ‘I breathe out long.’

Breathing in short, he understands, ‘I breathe in short,’ or breathing out short, he understands, ‘I breathe out short.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing the whole body.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing the whole body.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, tranquillising the bodily formation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, tranquillising the bodily formation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing rapture.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing joy.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing pleasure.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing happiness.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing the mental formation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing the mental formation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, tranquillising the mental formation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, tranquillising the mental formation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, gladdening the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, gladdening the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, concentrating the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, concentrating the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, liberating the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, liberating the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating impermanence.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating impermanence.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating fading away.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating fading away.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating cessation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating cessation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating relinquishment.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating relinquishment.’

Rahula, that is how mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit. When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated in this way, even the final in-breath and out-breath are known as they cease, not unknown.

These sixteen steps of mindfulness meditation are actually the four foundations of mindfulness broken down into practical steps. Divided into four sets of four, the first set trains the body; the second set, feeling; the third set, the mind; and the fourth set, dhamma. Proceed sequentially from step one to step sixteen.

Letting Go

If restlessness, agitation, or doubt occurs, work to open our mind and see that it clearly is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not taking it personally. Relax our mind around the tension caused by such restlessness, agitation, or doubt, and return our attention to the breath and its natural pace.

If our mind wanders from its focus on the breath, relax our mind of the tension in the head caused by such distraction, and then gently but firmly return our attention to the breath. And then do it again the next time, and the next time, and the time after that.

If we feel sleepy or dull, try focusing on the touch sensations of the in-breath and out-breath at the tip of the nose or upper lip, lungs, and belly.

If we begin to feel pain, we first recognise that the mind has gone to that sensation. We then let go of any thoughts about that sensation. Then, we open the mind and let go of the tight mental grip that is wrapped around that sensation, or by letting the sensation be there by itself without any mental resistance or aversion to it. This is done by telling ourselves, “Never mind, it is all right for this pain to be there.” Next, we relax the tightness which is in the head, feel the mind expand and become calm, and then turn our attention back to the breath or object of meditation.

Distractions or hindrances that prevent us from staying mindful are the things that we cling to physically, emotionally, mentally or otherwise. Whenever a hindrance arises, simply let it be without getting caught up thinking about it. Any force to ignore, block, suppress, or identify with it is counterproductive. Agitation or extra effort makes our breathing speed up. When this happens, we pay attention to the fast breathing and notice the agitation. Then we relax the mind, and the agitation disappears by itself. It doesn’t matter how many times we allow a hindrance to arise. Every time we relax our mind and let go of it, we purify our mind and expand our awareness.

Buddha taught us three kinds of actions to stay mindful while meditating or during our daily activities. They are, “Love Where We Are At, Love What We Are Doing in the Present Moment, and Love Who We Are With.” These simple explanations allow us to be completely accepting of the present moment.

To love where we are at is to accept the fact that when we are sitting in meditation or engaging in any other activities, things are not always like we want them to be.

To love what we are doing is to open up the mind and allow whatever arises in the present moment to present itself without our clinging to it. A good acronym for this is “DROPS,” which means “Don’t Resist Or Push, Soften.” Whatever arises, we do not resist or push. Just soften into it, open the mind and accept it.

To love who we are with is to love ourselves enough so that we see and let go of all kinds of attachments which cause pain to arise in our body and mind. The recognition that we cause our own suffering is a major realisation. When we truly love ourselves, we will see the pain and sorrow and lovingly let it go. This is done by letting go of thinking about it. Thus, we let go of the attachment and the ego identification with it.

Revealing Our Pure Consciousness

Our present self or ego, in its unawakened state, is not our enemy or a cripple or a failure. It is Buddha (or pure consciousness) waiting to realise itself. Mindfulness helps us pluck out the seed of illusion, not feed the mind with new ideals that would succumb to corruption in the inexorable working of time. Even if we pursue peace and love to be a better person, we are judging against ourselves, and self-judgement is the root of all illusions.

Developing mindfulness or taking the Eightfold Path represents a way to find out who we truly are by inviting our awareness to show what it really is. We do not strive for right action, right speech, or right thought because they are virtues belonging to an enlightened person. They are spontaneously a part of every person once we drop our disguises. The mystery of Buddha’s cure is this: What we seek, we already are.

When the last of our ego attachments or negative mental habits disappear, we see our true nature. Truth is not found in words nor is it taught or learned but it is revealed through insight and self-discovery. To reach truth, we must become it. Our consciousness must change until what is false has been left behind. Then truth will exist by itself, strong and self-sufficient. When we see our true nature completely free of self-judgement, there is only Buddha―the awakened light of consciousness.

Meditation will not be a practice set apart in our day; it will become the nature of our attention all the time―the way we can be present for all the moments in our life. For two thousand years, nature has held the cure for solitude in its heart. When we realise ourselves as Buddha, we are still alone, but our solitude fills every corner of creation as far as the eye can see.

Sharing the Merit Accrued from Our Meditation

Let us join palms and share the merit accrued from this meditation with all beings.

May suffering ones be suffering free
And the fear struck fearless be
May the grieving shed all grief
And all beings find relief.

May all beings share in this merit
That we have thus accrued
For the acquisition of happiness.

May beings inhabiting space and Earth
Divas and Nagas of mighty power
Share in this merit of ours.

Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu7.u