- 1. Preface
- 2. Notes to Parents and Teachers
- 3. How to Impart Buddhism to Children
- 4. Devotional Exercises
- 5. The Life Story of Lord Buddha
- 6. The One Main Teaching
- 7. The Refuges
- 8. The Five Precepts
- 9. The Four Noble Truths
- 10. Right Understanding
- 11. Right Aims
- 12. Right Speech
- 13. Right Action
- 14. Right Livelihood
- 15. Right Effort
- 16. Right Mindfulness
- 17. Right Meditation
- 18. The Law of Karma
- 19. Rebirth
- 20. The Three Signs
- 21. The Seven Jewels
- 22. The Three Evils
- 23. Our Duties Towards Others
- 24. The Meaning of Wesak
- 25. Trusting to Luck
- 26. The Wheel of the Law
- 27. The Teaching of all Buddha
- 28. The Greatest Secret in the World
- 29. Filial Piety
- 31. Perseverance
- 32. The Drawings in this Book
- 33. Remembering Lord Buddha
- 34. A Buddhism Catechism
Right Meditation is often called Right Concentration, because it is shutting out of the mind of all but one thought. Real meditation usually comes about only after long practice. But boys and girls can practise some of the various forms of meditation and really ought to try to meditate at least a little every day.
Many Buddhist families have either morning or evening devotions, or both, and it is a good custom to use the meditation on goodwill as part of the devotions. Here is the formula that is used for the sending forth of thoughts of goodwill to all beings:
“We surround all mankind and all forms of life with infinite love and compassion. Particularly do we send forth loving thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow, to all those in doubt and ignorance, to all who are striving to find Truth, and to those whose feet are standing close beside the gate of death, we send out oceans of compassion, love and goodwill.”
Another devotion that every boy and girl ought to know by heart and be able to use as a subject of meditation every day is this:
“I am a link in Lord Buddha’s chain of love that stretches around the world. I must keep my link bright and strong. I must think only good thoughts; I must speak only good words and do only good deeds. May all people everywhere become links in Lord Buddha’s chain of love.”
When we say these devotions aloud, or silently think about them, we ought to use good mind-control and concentrate only on the devotion. This is good experience for us and will help us to become good users of the deeper meditation when we are grown-ups.
Every Buddhist boy and girl ought to know at least a little about meditation. There are several ways we can sit when we are mediating, but the best is to use the way that Lord Buddha used. He sat in the double lotus position, or as it is often called, in Sanskrti, the Padmasana. If we have used chairs all our lives, and do not attempt to sit in meditation until we are grown-ups, we may find that our muscles and joints have become uncomfortable for us. But if we start to sit in this position when we are boys and girls and sit that way only ten or fifteen minutes each day, then the double-lotus posture will be easy for us all through life. Here is how it is done – first remove your shoes or sandals, then, if you are wearing a belt that is a bit tight, loosen it. That goes for neckties too. The next step is to sit on the floor and take the left foot and place it (with the sole of the foot up) on your right thigh. Then take the right foot and place it sole up on the left thigh. Now straighten your back, hold your head erect, partly close your eyes, place your right hand in your left hand, palms up, thumbs lightly touching.
Now that you have your body in the right position, you must get both your body and mind in a calm and peaceful condition and this is done by breath-control. Silently you say to yourself – “one I breathe in” and then you inhale slowly and deeply and hold your breath for a moment or two. The mouth must be kept closed all during these breathing exercises. Next say mentally – “one I breathe out” and then slowly exhale the breath. Do this to the count of ten and keeping your attention centred on nothing but your breathing. This is a good way to learn to concentrate.
The next step is to think only of goodwill. Send thoughts of goodwill to yourself for a moment or two. Then silently recite the devotions that are given in this lesson. This will be easier if we know the devotions by heart. Later on, when we are grown-ups, there are other forms of meditation, but the sample given in this lesson is a good one for boys and girls to use as a starter.
SWEET TIME OF MEDITATION
Sweet time of mediation,
The quiet time of peace,
When from life’s care and turmoil
I find a blest release.
In silent contemplation,
New faith and hope I win;
More light and deeper knowledge
More strength to conquer sin.
Sweet time of meditation,
When, silent and alone,
The master’s word I ponder,
His truth to make mine own.
With earnest purpose seeking,
I gather more and more
Of Wisdom’s holy treasure
From His exhaustless store.
Sweet time of meditation,
When oft there comes to me,
A vision of the Master
Beneath the Bodhi tree.
And with Him in that vigil,
My spirit seems to share
A foretaste of Nirvana,
Of bliss beyond compare.
-A. R. Zorn.
- What is another name for Right Meditation?
- Is concentration always meditation, or do we mean religious concentration?
- Do we need practice to become an expert in meditation?
- Can boys and girls start to learn how to meditate?
- What do we call the position when we sit cross-legged on the floor?
- What are the rules about the breathing exercises?
- How do we place our hands?
- What is a good subject to use for concentration?
- Do you know some devotions that can be used for “broadcasting”?
- Is it a good idea to meditate many hours at a time?