"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

December 29, 2011

Meditation - There's More to It Than Sitting

In the [the Buddha's] Discourse on How to Establish Mindfulness, there is the following section on Clear Comprehension:
A meditator when moving forward or backward is clearly aware of what they are doing; when looking ahead or behind, clearly aware of what they are doing; when bending, stretching ... when carrying things , clearly aware of what they are doing; when eating, drinking, chewing, savouring ... when passing stools or urine ... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep and waking up ... when speaking or staying silent, they clearly aware of what they are doing.

That is, whatever the meditator is doing, that is what they must be mindful of.

In other words, the sitting meditation is only a part of the practice as a whole. The Buddha wanted us to develop a meditative life. To know what we are doing at all times. A life of full-time awareness. The danger for meditators is to raise the sitting meditation practice to the position of a magical ritual as if all we needed to do was a little sitting in the morning and in the evening (perhaps) and liberation from suffering is assured.

Too often meditators think sitting meditation is the be-all and end-all of the Path. I once met a meditator because of this. He had been tremendously ardent, spending months in intensive meditation only to come out and live the 'good life.' After years of this so-called practice, achieving very little in terms of inner peace, he had achieved little but sorrow and despair. He felt the five years of so he had spent on the meditation practice had been a great waste.

So, it is this dependence on meditation sitting as the one and only practice that leads to disillusionment and disappointment. Eventually the meditator may abandon the practice altogether as useless! So sitting meditation is only part of the Buddha's path, though undoubtedly necessary.

Bhikkhu Bodhidhamma
"Meditation In Ordinary Daily Life"
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