“The mind is neither physical, nor a by-product of purely physical processes, but a formless continuum that is a separate entity from the body. Our mind is like a field, and performing actions is like sowing seeds in that field. Positive or virtuous actions sow the seeds of future happiness, and negative or non-virtuous actions sow the seeds of future suffering. This definite relationship between actions and their effects – virtue causing happiness and non-virtue causing suffering – is know as the ‘law of karma’.”
(from the book “Eight Steps of Happiness” by Geshe Kelsang)
The English word “meditation” is derived from the Latin “meditate”, from a verb “meditari” meaning to think, contemplate, devise, ponder, meditate. In the Old Testament hagâ (means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate). Dhyna in Sanskrit or jhana in Pali can refer to either meditation or meditative states. Equivalent terms are “Chán” in modern Chinese, “Zen” in Japanese, “Seon” in Korean, “Thien” in Vietnamese, and “Samten” in Tibetan.
Meditation in different cultures:
– Dhyana in Buddhism
– Chinese Chán
– Japanese Zen
– Korean “Seon”
– Dhyana in Hinduism
– Vietnamese “Thien”
– “Samten” in Tibetian
Meditation is at the heart of the Buddhist way of life.
It is basically a method for understanding and working on our own mind. We first learn to identify our different negative mental states known as ‘delusions’, and learn how to develop peaceful and positive mental states or ‘virtuous minds’.
Then in meditation we overcome our delusions by becoming familiar with virtuous minds. Out of meditation we try to maintain the virtuous minds we have developed and use our wisdom to solve the problems of daily life. As our mind becomes more positive our actions become more constructive, and our experience of life becomes more satisfying and beneficial to others.
Anyone can learn basic meditation techniques and experience great benefits.
To progress beyond basic meditation requires faith in the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Usually people find this develops naturally as they experience the benefits of their meditation practice.
Zen is the Japanese variant of Chán, a school of Mahayana Buddhism which strongly emphasizes dhyana c.q. concentration-meditation. This gives insight into ones true nature, or the emptiness of inherent existence, which opens the way to a liberated way of living.
Zen meditation. Studying the Self.
*To study the self is to study everything and nothing at once. Everything we are is a single point of view. To forget the self is to give up individual perception, which comes from the human mind in this life.
To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe.” (Zen quote)
To study the Way means a personal study of yourself. The Way is always personal and unique. When we study the self, what we do is see the self. By seeing the self, we see it’s tricks, it’s games and illusions. Our identity shifts away from being the self, to an integrated state, containing also what’s there when there is no self. In that way, we no longer remember the self, we no longer place importance on the self. Things still happen, we still are, we breathe, we live, but there is no constant remembering of the I/Me/My. There is a living in the moment, and this living is in touch with reality. It’s presence. It’s consciousness, it’s forgetting the self.
Documentary. The talks of Shunryu Roshi at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.