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Chapter 18 - Meditation in Mahayanist Buddhism

21/01/201621:30(Xem: 2014)
Chapter 18 - Meditation in Mahayanist Buddhism

BUDDHIST DOCTRINE

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DHARMA TALKED

THICH HUYEN VI

 

Chapter XVIII

MEDITATION IN MAHAYANIST BUDDHISM

 

ORIGINS OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION

 

            BUDDHIST meditation comes from our Master SAKYAMUNI BUDDHA.  Having left his family to search after the Truth, he decided to practice meditation until His efforts were rewarded by Enlightenment (An Uttara Samyak-Sambuddha):

 

“For six years, Buddha sat in the thick jungle,

For seven weeks, Buddha devoted Himself to pure meditation”.

 

            After the Parinibbana (Skt: Par nirvana) of the Buddha, two schools propagated His doctrine: that of the Ancients or Theravada and that of the Great Vehicle or Mahayana.  Both teach the practice of meditation as the basis for attaining Enlightenment.

 

                        WHAT IS MEDITATION?

 

            “Thien” or more exactly “Thien-Na”, from the Sanskrit word “Dhyana”, translated into Chinese as “tinh lu” (peace and reflection) is interpreted into English by meditation.  When one is not mentally agitated, then there is meditation.  When in a sitting position, one recognizes its original nature.  This means that one has attained peace of mind that one is meditating.  In this way, original nature represents the non-created essence of each being-Peace of mind constitutes the mental scenery, which is non-created and in which the breath of the Eight Winds is motionless.  The Eight Winds are profits, decadence, calumny, glorification, praise, criticism, suffering and joy.  When one meditates in this way one is regarded as having entered into the State of Buddha, even if one is an ordinary creature.

            Through introspection we must search to understand ourselves to know if we are good or bad, intelligent or stupid, courageous or cowardly, honest or dishonest.  These reflections, these examines, these analyses, which are called psychological observations, constitute meditation.

            The mind which is inclined to draw distinction, prejudice, selfishness, greed, anger, ignorance, is known as the false mind, the perverted mind, the mind of creatures.  This false mind must be destroyed to give place to a loving, compassionate mind, the real mind, the mind of the emerging Buddha.  Meditation eases mental agitation and replaces it with the true, pure nature which is truth.  It is also called the method of mental discipline, or concentration of thoughts.  The ideas of each being are very complex; each person has his own opinions which differ from those of others.  They provoke, in their very diversity, thousands upon thousands of discontentment’s because of the various faults committed and which then cause a multitude of sufferings for oneself, for others, the family, society, the nation, the world and all humanity.  The effects all depend upon distinct mental perturbations, erroneous ideas which are formed.

            In order to master and pacify the various passions, the erroneous ideas and to bring into light the real pure mind which is present in everyone, it is necessary to have recourse to the method of meditation.  “All creatures carry within themselves the nature of the Buddha”.  This is the fundamental teachings of the Buddha.  The nature of the Buddha is “the real pure mind present in every being”, as indicated above.  All categories of living beings possess it without exception, thus this mind is still known as “the Original possession” or the “Physiognomy existing from the origin”, otherwise known as the real mind, which is innate in all creatures in one way or another.  It is to return to this original mind that we practice meditation.

 

                        PURPOSE OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION:

 

            The purpose of Buddhist Meditation is “to stop the mental agitations, to recover the nature of the Buddha”.  For that, we must decant the diver’s defilements of our mind, to find again the real physiognomy of our nature.  These defilements are precisely illusions.  Our proper nature is the representation of the wisdom of the Tathagata, (mind without attachment).  The Buddha’s, as well as all the creatures, possess it entirely, being unique and identical to itself.  If we get rid of impure thoughts we shall arise within ourselves the representation of the wisdom of the TATHAGATA, we shall become Buddha; otherwise we shall remain creatures.  Because from innumerable Kalpas (eons) till today we are blindly plunged into the darkness of the cycle of re births, because for a long time we have allowed ourselves to be contaminated by rottenness, it is not possible, in a moment to get rid of illusions, to see our original nature; it is why we must practice meditation.  The primo dial condition in the practice of meditation is to destroy the illusions.  How does the method of destroying illusions go on?  Buddha-Shakyamuni taught many processes, but the essential point lies in the expression, “the end of illusion”.  The end of illusion means Enlightenment.  The school of meditation, which the 28 Patriarch Bodhi-dharma had transmitted into China, till the sixth Chinese Patriarch HOUI-NENG has spread everywhere carrying a dazzling light from the antiquity till our modern day.

            Bodhi dharma and the six Patriarch HOUI-NENG have initiated the meditators through this very important sentence, “Suppress completely attachments, and don’t allow the formation of any thought”.  To suppress completely attachments is to rid ourselves from attachments.  The two expression, “to rid ourselves entirely from all attachments and not allow the formation of thought” constitutes the decisive condition before any other in the practice of meditation.  It is not possible to realize these two expressions, not only meditation would not be successful but the door of liberation would be hardly overcome.  As long as the countless bonds continue is attach us, as long as the mental agitations arise and decay without ceasing, how can we practice meditation with success?

            To rid ourselves entirely from all attachments and not allow the formation of any thoughts constitutes as we already know, the decisive condition in the practice of meditation.  However, how can we realize it?  There are two ways:

  1. One is the appanage of the pick flowers nature and of the transcendental intelligences for who illusion disappear in a durable manner; those persons directing their steps towards the non-created attain Enlightenment without any more attachment realize the true original essence and reach the aim will ease.
  2. The other must be followed by the generality of mankind.  Those who must practice meditation everyday must use logic to destroy the facts, to recognize clearly their proper nature, which is always pure.  Passions are enlightenment, birth and death are Nirvana, and all are false illusions which are external to our original nature. All facts, all phenomenon are but dream, illusions, bubbles, shadows.  Our body is composed of four elements (earth, water, fire, air) the mountains and rivers, the continents and all are like the foam of ocean which, in spite of their formation and destruction, are not at all worried about their own essence.  We must not follow the evolution – birth, stay, alteration, disparity – of all these illusion to start, to like, to be disgusted, to preserve, to abandon.  If we abandon completely our body, like an in-different corpse, the faculties, the objects of acquaintance, the forms of consciousness, the mind  will fade, greed, anger, ignorance, desire will be completely annihilated.  Any matter ill and pain, suffering and joy, hungry and cold, food and clothing, honor and outrage, birth and death, misfortune and happiness, peace and danger, criticism and praise, possession and ruin, tranquility and trouble, difficulty and facility.  It is only in these conditions that it is possible to abandon all of them.  When one gives them up it is called to abandon completely a thousand bonds.  As soon as thousands upon thousands of bonds are fully abandoned the illusions fade, distinctions no more arise, and prejudices constantly go away.  At that moment no thought arises, our proper nature becomes perspicacious, the entire essence appears.  If one reaches such results this means that required conditions for the method of meditation are well fulfilled and the means of search are all well used in the purpose to attain Enlightenment.

 

 

FORMALITIES DURING THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION

(To be fulfilled by the candidates practicing in the

common meditation room)

 

 

  1. To write ones names, surname, Buddhist name, address and telephone number.
  2. To take a Zafou (cushion) or some carpets used for meditation.
  3. To arrive fifteen minutes before the foreseen time, to get ready in keeping calm the body, the speech and the mind.
  4. To dress at one’s own suitableness; in preference, put on the loose ceremony robe, avoid the short.
  5. At the given signal come in order into the meditation room and sit at one’s place.
  6. At the arrival of the venerable master of meditation, salute him with joined hands and utter with him three times the salutation to the Buddha:

NAMOTASSA BHAVAGATO ARAHATO SAMMA SAMBUDDHASSA

(Honor to Him the Blessed One, the Worthy One, and the Fully Enlightened One)

  1. If necessary the Master of meditation will give his instructions.
  2. The giving of the signal will mark the moment when each person must put himself in the ritual position.
  3. It is forbidden to speak, laugh, to cough, to spite, to recite innovations, to say one’s prayers with rosary.
  4. At each session of one hour, the meditator must study carefully the theory to apply the basic method, to sit for meditation for 10-20-30-40-50 or 60 minutes.

 

The persons who cannot participate at the group sessions will read attentively this lecture and could afterwards practice alone in the meditation room on the condition to advise the master to request the general rules.

 

PROPERLY PRACTICE

 

POSTURE:

 

  1. During the sessions it is preferable to wear loose clothing, not too tight at the waist and at the sleeves.
  2. The sitting position is known as the half-lotus; the back of the right foot is placed on the left thigh or the other way around.  This position is advised for beginners.
  3. The sitting position is known as the full lotus; two variants:Position of hands: the left hand open underneath the right hand, also open placed on the palm of the left hand and completely covering it, the thumbs joined hand to hand.  The hands are placed on the ankles or at the level according to the method preferred.  The elbows must be pressed against the body.  In the lotus position, the two knees must tough the floor.
    1. Sitting position with the purpose of subduing the devils; the back of the right foot being supported up to the grain on the left thigh, the back of the left foot being supported up to the grain on the right thigh, the calves crossed.
    2. Sitting position of tranquility; apply first the back of the left foot on the right thigh till the grain, then bring the back of the right foot to apply it till the grain on the left thigh, the calves crossed.  This position is advised to the meditators who practice at home.  It gives easily good results.
  4. The meditation must keep the terse vertical, the spine straight, and the shoulders at same level and just underneath the ears.  Lower the eyelids.  Keep the eye three quarters open fixed on the tips of the nose.  One must not keep the eyes full open as this will disturb meditation.  In clothing them hermetically one risks falling asleep.  Lightly place the tongue on roof of the palate.

 

 

COMING OUT OF MEDITATION:

 

            At the giving of the signal the meditator gets ready to come out of meditation.  He starts by separating his hands, then smoothly moves the head, the eyes, the body, takes out his crossed feet and legs, slowly and precautious.  He will feel, at the moment, from the feet up to the head some difficulties.  For example, over fatigued back, oppressed chest, tingling legs, aching neck, etc… The meditator must, himself, strongly massage these painful parts or to rub vigorously the hands to the hands to warm them again and then place them on the painful parts of the body.  He must not accomplish all these gestures with precipitation, as the consequences could be very serious afterwards.

            Once the session is finished the meditators will recite the words of the transfer of merits.

 

                        SABBA PAPASSA AKARANAM

                        KUSALASSA UPASAMPADA

                        SACITTA PARIYODAPANAM

                        ETAM BUDDHANA SASANAM.

 

                                    ************

 

                        Not doing bad

                        Only doing well,

                        To purify one’s own mind,

                        Such is the teachings of the Buddha.

 

                                    ************

 

                        BHAVATUSABBA MANGALAM

                        RAKKHANTU SABBA DEVATA

                        SABBA BUDDHANUBHAVENA

                        SADA SOTTHI BHAVANTUTE!

 

                                    ************

 

                        May all blessings be yours?

                        May all the Gods protect you?

                        By the power of all Buddha’s

                        May happiness be yours forever?

 

                                    ************

 

                        BHAVATUSABBA MANGALAM

                        RAKKHANTU SABBA DEVATA

                        SABBA DHAMMANU BHAVENA

                        SADA SOTTHI BHAVANTTE!

 

                                    ************

 

                        May all blessings be yours?

                        May all the Gods protect you?

                        By the power of all Dhammam;

                        May happiness be yours forever?

 

                                    ************

 

                        BHAVATU SABBA MANGALAM

                        RAKKHANTU SABBA DEVATA

                        SABBA SANGHANU BHAVENA

                        SADA SOTTHI BHAVANTUTE!

 

                                    ************

 

                        May all blessings be yours?

                        May all the Gods protect you?

                        By the power of all disciples,

                        May happiness be yours forever?

 

                                    ************

 

                        EFFECTS OF MEDITATION:

 

            Putting exactly into practice these methods above the meditators will feel well, their health will be on the mend, their mind will become clearer and vigilant, and they will acquire the tranquility of the mind.  They will obtain the ten fine following results:

 

  1.  A serene existence in keeping with the faith.  After a rather long time the five senses will become wise and then the true meditation arises and without any need of efforts one feels calm, in safe and free from all bonds.
  2. A larger aptitude for love and compassion.  During meditation one can keep the loving and compassionate mind towards all the creatures.
  3. The dispersion of worries.  Thanks to meditation the passions such as greed, anger (hate) and ignorance could no more arise.
  4. An effective control of senses allowing a greater resistance strength in the attraction of outside perceptions: shape sound, or dour, taste, tangible things, mental object (ideas and thoughts).
  5. The body in a happy state.  Meditation is regarded as the best of the spiritual foods among the other foods in the world.
  6. No more desires.  Once the mind tranquilized, the desires no more arise and so cannot anymore contaminate us.
  7. Attained Truth without any doubts.
  8. The liberation of all attachments till the state of non-rebirth is reached.
  9. The discovery of the ill imitate wisdom and the delight serenity in the Buddha’s sphere.
  10. The complete liberation against which nothing could not anymore be opposed, the realization of the nature of the Buddha.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

            In putting into practice the millenary rules given by the Buddha, each meditator can attain certain level in the meditation and a certain degree in the wisdom.  Meditation is method which is destined to all categories of human beings, without any distinction of colors, nationalities, religion, countries; each person who uses it can attain liberation and enlightenment.  All the great Enlightened Ones have reached the wonderful coronation of their efforts by means of Buddhist Meditation.  It is why we can conclude in arresting that meditation is an indispensable exercise for all, particularly where the spiritual life if exposed to grave disorders. Meditation is miraculous remedy against the moral sufferings.  It must not be neglected by those who wish to realize the equilibrium (balance) between the body and the spirit in the search of happiness in the course of the present existence.

 

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