Hope you are doing well!
I am wondering if you could fill out a 5-minutes survey for a research project I am currently doing at NYU. The survey is asking experienced meditators about what tricks help them establish their regular meditation practice. The goal is to help a broader group of people to cultivate a meditation habit. It would be truly appreciated if you could spend the 5 minutes telling us your experience.
This is the survey link
https://qtrial2018q4az1.az1.qualtrics.c ... S2yMcg0AVn
Thank you so much for your time and your kindness
Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
In meditation you have to be constantly turning your attention to the practice. It's like planting a tree. If you plant a tree in one place and
after three days pull it up and plant it in a different spot, then after a further three days pull it up and plant it in yet another place, it will just die without producing anything. Practising meditation like this won't bear any fruit either. This is something you have to understand for yourselves. Contemplate it. Try it out for yourselves when you go home. Get a sapling and plant it in one spot, and every few days, go and pull it up and plant it
in a different place. It will just die without ever bearing any fruit. It's the same doing a meditation retreat for seven days, followed by seven months
of unrestrained behaviour, allowing the mind to become soiled, and then going back to do another retreat for a short period, practising strictly without talking and subsequently coming out and being unrestrained again. As with the tree, the meditation just dies - none of the wholesome fruits are retained. The tree doesn't grow, the meditation doesn't grow. I say practising this way doesn't bear much fruit.
Still, meditation is generally not well understood. We practise in a group, but we often don't know what it's all about. Some people think meditation is really hard to do. `I come to the monastery, but I can't sit. I don't have much endurance. My legs hurt, my back aches, I'm in pain all over.' So they give up on it and don't come anymore, thinking they can't do it. But in fact samadhi is not sitting. Samadhi isn't walking. It isn't lying down or standing. Sitting, walking, closing the eyes, opening the eyes, these are all mere actions. Having your eyes closed doesn't necessarily mean you're practising samadhi. It could just mean that you're drowsy and dull. If you're sitting with your eyes closed but you're falling asleep, your head bobbing all over and your mouth hanging open, that's not sitting in samadhi. It's sitting with your eyes closed. Samadhi and closed eyes are two separate matters. Real samadhi can be practised with eyes open or eyes closed. You can be sitting, walking, standing or lying down. Samadhi means the mind is firmly focused, with all-encompassing mindfulness, restraint, and caution. You are constantly aware of right and wrong, constantly watching all conditions arising in the mind. When it shoots off to think of something, having a mood of aversion or longing, you are aware of that. Some people get discouraged: `I just can't do it. As soon as I sit, my mind starts thinking of home. That's evil (Thai: bahp)'. Hey! If just that much is evil, the Buddha never would have become Buddha. He spent five years struggling with his mind, thinking of his home and his family. It was only after six years that he awakened.
So, some people feel that these sudden arisings of thought are wrong or evil... Or if you have a thought about stealing something and that is followed by a stronger recollection that to do so is wrong, and so you refrain from acting on it - is that bad kamma? It's not that every time you have an impulse you instantly accumulate bad kamma. Otherwise, how could there be any way to liberation? Impulses are merely impulses. Thoughts are merely thoughts. In the first instance, you haven't created anything yet. In the second instance, if you act on it with body, speech or mind, then you are creating something. Avijja has taken control. If you have the impulse to steal and then you are aware of yourself and aware that this would be wrong, this is wisdom, and there is vijja instead. The mental impulse is not consummated.
This is timely awareness, wisdom arising and informing our experience. If there is the first mind-moment of wanting to steal something and then
we act on it, that is the dhamma of delusion; the actions of body, speech and mind that follow the impulse will bring negative results