Monday, April 11, 2011

Meditation Workshop at Wat Mongkolratanaram, Tampa FL



Basic Meditation Instruction & Practice
by PhramahaThanat Atthacharee, PhD,
Transcribed and Edited by Du Wayne Engelhart

Good morning everybody. Today I would like to introduce the meditation technique according to the term in Buddhism. Meditation means the training of the mind. Why do we train the mind? The mind is very important. The mind is master. The Buddha said if we train the mind and get rid of the defilements from the mind, that means we can find peace of mind. Mind is very important. Mind is the chief. Mind is master. If we do or think or act with polluted mind, then suffering will follow us. Or if we act or think or speak with purified mind, so that happiness will follow us. This is the word of the Buddha. In Buddhism we focus on the mind and have to train the mind to become a pure mind. So the technique that I would like to share with you today is the meditation for ? strength, reduction and relaxation. The meditation you might know many, many techniques. But today I invite you explain and demonstrate to you the basic technique The technique today is just for the basic one. The one you want to practice. You can practice at home or anyplace. First of all, I would like to show you how to sit, because there are four postures altogether. One is the sitting meditation, the other is the standing, walking, and lying meditation.

I. Sitting. O.k., start with sitting meditation. Now sitting meditation. You can sit crossing your leg. Put the right one on the top the left one and put your right hand on the left one on top of your leg. Sit straight back and relax. Or you may put your hands on your knees. But you have to sit upright and straighten your spinal cord and relax. When you put your hands on your lap, try to relax your shoulders, relax your neck, relax your whole body. Every part of your body should be relaxed. You may sit on the cushion, or may sit on the chair or sofa, as you feel comfortable. But you are required to sit upright. When you sit comfortably, and then close your eyes and close your mouth up. Try to focus your mind on your breath. When you breath in, focus your mind at the nostril. You will feel the air passing in and out in the nostril, and fix your mind on that spot. This is the first step to focus the mind on the breathing. And then move your mind follow the air. You breath in, take a deep breath. The air will go to your abdomen. The abdomen will fall and rise when you breath in ?and out so that you can fix your mind on that spot. When your abdomen rising, and then notice that rising. When you breath out or exhale, your abdomen falling down, and then fix your mind on that spot. Just observe the falling and rising at your stomach or abdomen. So in this way you can ?develop one-pointedness. Because meditation try to put your mind on only one spot. And then relax your body. When you close your eyes, you visualize your entire body. See your sitting posture in your mind. And then relax from the feet to the head, up and down, up and down. Relax your feet, relax your ankles, relax your knees; relax your thighs and buttocks. The lower parts of your body should be relaxed in your sitting meditation. And then the middle parts of your body from the navel up to your chest. Relax your spinal cord. Sit upright, and your shoulders should be relaxed. So from your shoulders down to your navel, the middle parts of your body, should be relaxed. And then move your mind to your neck, your chin, your face, and your head. Try to relax the upper parts of your body. Set your mind at the top of your head and see or visualize your entire body in your mind. So by this way you can see yourself inside not outside. When you check all your body relaxation, and then back to the normal breathing. Just observe breath in and breath out. You breathe in and you know that you breath in, and when you breathe out, you know that you breathe out. Be mindful all the time. Don’t pay attention to any kind of sound that can distract your mind. Just focus your mind on the breathing ?for the breathing exercise. So you can sit as long as you can. Start about five minutes, and then you can increase to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, or thirty minutes, or one hour, as much as you can. But the important thing is try to relax and take it easy. Don’t stiffen up your body, just relax your mind. So you will find the peace of mind ?this way. Don’t fear and worry in any case, just know it and let it go and relax. So by this way you can sit and get real happiness from the meditation technique.

II. Standing and Walking Exercises. After sitting meditation, practice should be continued by standing and walking meditation. Standing meditation. So you stand and close your eyes. You may put your hands in the front of your body, or you may put your hands in the back. But when you stand, close your eyes and try to visualize your standing posture. Put your mind on the top of your head and see your standing posture by the inner eye or by the mind. And take a note in your mind ? . . . with the word “Standing”. It means you put your mind on the top of your head and see your entire body from the top of your head to the ?tip, and say in your mind “Standing.” Now your mind on the feet. And now you see body upward from the ?tip up to your head and say again in your mind “Standing”. Now your mind on your head. And one more time from the top to the bottom “Standing.” Now your mind on your feet and ready to go. On the one step of walking meditation, only notice right or left. You put your mind on the right foot and step forward . . . , and ?put your mind on the left foot . . . You think and you move at the same time. Don’t move before or after you think. Should be in the same action in the present moment. “Right.” You thin of right and then you move your right foot. Step forward and put down. . . . Left up, forward out. Right forward, up, down. Left forward, up down. Right forward, up, down. Left forward, up down. When you reach the distance you put your feet together, and close your eyes. Visualize your standing, and start from the top of you head again three times standing. “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Intending to turn.” Now we are going to turn right. So the position should be continued. Turn right, right foot first. “Turning.” Left foot, “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Now you are in the same position, same direction. And then “Standing” again three times, from the top of the head to the tip toes. Three times, “Standing,” “Standing,” “Standing.” “Intending to walk.” Now we are going to start walking. Put your mind on the right foot. “Walking.” It means your right foot first. “Walking” [left foot]. “Walking” [right foot]. “Walking” [left foot]. “Walking” [right foot]. “Walking” [left foot]. “Walking” [right foot]. And then standing . . . “Standing”. “Standing”. “Standing.” “Intending to turn.” . . . “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” . . . “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Intending to walk.” And then start. “Walking.” “Walking.” “Walking.” Do it in this way. It is walking meditation. But there are six steps all together. . . . The second step of walking meditation as I demonstrate it is the first step, right or left. Step two is lifting and touching. The technique: you have to standing three times and then focus on the right foot and then lifting and touching, left one, lifting and touching, lifting touching [right foot}, lifting touching [left foot], lifting touching [right foot], lifting touching [right foot]. And then when you reach the distance, put your feet together and standing three times as you did before. And turning, turn to your right. “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Every step try to pay attention. Be careful, be mindful and alert. Every step. The next step is step three. Step three is lifting, moving, and touching. You have to know every step, when you lift your foot up, lifting, moving, touching. Lifting, moving, touching. Step by step, try to observe every step. Lifting, moving, touching. Lifting, moving, touching. Lifting, moving, touching. Put your feet together. Standing three times . . . And then intending to turn. “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Standing three times. And then walking, step four. Step four, if your heel is up, you know your heel is up. Lifting, you know that you lift your foot, step forward and put down. Your heel up, lifting, moving, touching. Heel up, lifting, moving, touching. Heel up, lifting, moving, touching. Heel up, lifting, moving, touching. Heel up, lifting, moving, touching. Stopping, and standing three times. And then, intending to turn. “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” O.K., step five, put your mind on your right Heel up. Lifting, moving, lowering, and touching foot. Heel up. Lifting, moving, lowering, and touching. Heel up. Lifting, moving, lowering, and touching. Heel up. Lifting, moving, lowering, and touching. Heel up. Lifting, moving, lowering, and touching. . . . Feet together, and standing three times. And turning. “Intending to turn.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Close your eyes and standing three times. After that, “Intending to Walk.” Step six. Step six is very detailed. So try to focus your mind and observe every movement of your foot. Heel up, lifting, moving, lowering, touching, and pressing. The sixth step is pressing. You should know completely your foot on the floor. And after that shift to the left side. Heel up, lifting, moving, lowering, touching, and pressing. And shift to the other side. Heel up, lifting, moving, lowering, touching, and pressing. Heel up, lifting, moving, lowering, touching, and pressing. Heel up, lifting, moving, lowering, touching, and pressing. Heel up, lifting, moving, lowering, touching, and pressing. . . . Put your feet together and standing three times. Intending to turn. “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” And then you walk up and down, up and down. If you like, choose any step. If you like, o.k.? One suitable for you. You can use step three because step three is suitable and the natural way to walk. Lifting, moving, touching is easy to remember, but if you need to control your mind and put your mind in details. . . Step six, you develop your mind, develop your practice, and from the step one to step six . . . So you can divide the time from sitting thirty minutes and standing and walking together thirty minutes, and then go back to your sitting. ?You sit for thirty minutes

III. Lying. Continue from standing and walking meditation. So next . . . . . . The next meditation technique should be lying meditation. When we go to bed we have the technique to practice . . . When you turn from walking, turning, turning, turning, and walk mindfully, slowly, to your bed . . . Walk slowly, mindfully, because you have to continue mindfulness. . . O.K., attention that you . . . take a rest. . . . But before you go to sleep, you have time to . . . O.K., lowering down, right knee, left knee, and sit, slowly, mindfully. You have to pay attention to every step. So you can lie down on your right side, lowering mindfully, and take your right hand like this and put your left hand support your body. By this way you can observe the entire . . . your body. And then when you feel tired, you can slowly, mindfully, put your head to the pillow. And then turn your body up. And it is very important to put your left hand at your stomach and put your right hand on your stomach. Take a deep in breath until you can feel your abdomen rising and observe that. And breathe out, exhale, and then your stomach falling down. And then observe that spot. Like your sitting meditation but this is lying meditation. So close your eyes and observe just the rising and falling. See your hand up and down, up and down as you are breathing in and out until you fall asleep. So if you hold your attention, you will not fall asleep because you pay attention too much. So lying mediation no need to focus like that sitting meditation but just relax your mind and your body and observe your abdomen until you fall asleep. . . . You can sleep easily, peacefully, . . . and get real happiness. So when you wake up, don’t get up urgently. Just open your eyes when you feel you want to get up but o.k., you just open your eyes and observe your entire body first. And then turn to your right side . . . Put your right hand .. your head, and put your left hand like this, and then slowly, mindfully, get up by put your hands support your body. And sitting . . . Know yourself every step. And then put your body forward, put your hands in the front, lift your knees, and . . . stand. . . . So every step should be mindful. And go to walking meditation and sitting meditation . . . It is the technique that we have to . . ., a combination divided into four parts . . . sitting, standing, walking, and lying meditation. I hope that you can develop . . . my training and get the peace of mind by this technique that the Buddha has taught us 2,500 years ago. This technique can help, anyway, anytime, anybody, without regard to American, Thai, or Laos, or anybody, because everybody needs the peace of mind and the real happiness. So meditation can help, especially we live in the society that the people ?broke apart and stressed too much. So meditation can reduce the stress and enhance relaxation. Thank you very much.

Wat Thai Washington,D.C.
August 28, 2010

3 Comments:

At 9:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 8:52 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

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At 6:12 AM , Blogger Iamwhoiam said...

Vipassana meditation is something very good which help us be mindful all day. I met a guru who practice for over 30years, he is Venerable Vimokkha and did share his teaching in MP3 files in my blog. His teaching is recorded during our Vipassana meditation retreat. Feel free download it for free at:
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