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Meditation by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

Meditation by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

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Published by: janeroberts on Nov 25, 2007
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Before you meditate it is necessary to know how to meditate and to have thecorrect motivation and the correct position. You must not have too manyexpectations.One should begin meditation with the pure motivation of the Bodhisattva. You wishto practice for the benefit of yourself and all sentient beings. In order to helpother sentient beings you must first have realizations; you must have compassion,wisdom and power. You should decide for the sake of all sentient beings that youwant to become an enlightened Buddha, and for this reason you are going tomeditate.Before you meditate it is necessary to know the seven positions of Vairochana.These are as follows:1) One should sit on a comfortable cushion with the back slightly higher that thanthe front.2) One should sit with the legs folded in the full lotus position if possible orthe half lotus position or just cross your legs. This is called sitting in themeditation position. This way of sitting is ancient and is a position used todevelop meditation. It is good for meditation because you can not topple over asyou can when sitting on a chair or couch. The spine should be straight. When yourback is straight your breathing and your circulation will be smooth and even. Donot sit leaning forward, as it is incorrect.3) The hands should be in your lap with the left hand cupping your right hand thethumbs touching each other at the level of your navel. The hands describe acircle. The touching thumbs symbolize the union of wisdom and method and thus formthe mudra for sunyata or emptiness. In the Tantric practice joining the thumbs atthe level of the navel helps to generate heat which arises from the navel sunyata4) Holding the arms close to the body can result in their getting warm, especiallyin summer and can lead to dull or sleepy mind. Therefore, your arms should be heldout to the side.5) The head should be bent slightly forward.6) The eyes can be kept open or closed. If your mind becomes dull or sleepy youshould open your eyes and look around or look at a window or wherever there isbright light. Then when you are no longer sleepy you should half-close your eyes.Closing your eyes completely may result in your becoming sleepy again.7) The lips and jaw should be held in their natural position and the tongue shouldgently touch the gum behind the upper front teeth. This helps keep the mouth moistwhile preventing excessive saliva production during long periods of meditation.Sitting Meditation InstructionNow it is time to meditate. According to tradition you should first clean up yourroom, make offerings, such as flowers, candles, incense or water filled offeringbowls on your alter and then do a minimum of three prostrations to your Gurus, toBuddha, to the Dharma and the Sangha before you actually sit and meditate.To meditate one must have a clear mind without either doubts or expectationsregarding your meditation. You should then regard your breath. Observe with yourmind the breath coming in and the breath going out. This is called "following thebreath" and is the first stage of mindfulness of breathing.While following the breath one should stop excessive thinking about where thebreath is going to or coming from. Just follow the breath. The manner of yourbreathing is dependant on your mind and on your mood. If your mood changes to oneof anger, or if you become agitated then your breathing becomes short and rapid.If your mood is good, if you are at peace inside then your breathing pattern isslow and even. This is the first stage of mindfulness of breathing.The second stage is to watch your breath. This means that you concentrate on apoint of contact between your breath and your nostrils. The most appropriate pointis inside your nostrils. Try to develop a sensitivity for the point of contact.Watching the contact of your breath with your nostrils is many times moredifficult than following the breath coming in and going out. The mind can easilywander from the contact point.If your mind wanders from its object you should breath more heavily while
concentrating on the breath as it touches the nostrils or tip of the nose.Continue to watch this point until your mind stops wandering. Then just focus onthe contact between the breath and nostrils.If your mind becomes dull and you feel sleepy then you should look at a brightwindow or wherever is light or just look around you. Another method is to gentlyrub the muscles of the sides and back of your neck. This will help you to wake up.If you are sleepy take a break or do walking meditation for five to ten minutes.Walking meditation is very helpful if you are doing a long sitting meditation.Walking Meditation InstructionThe method of walking meditation is as follows: First you should stand. Just standand observe with your mind and your breath. Then begin to focus your mind on thesoles of your feet. Think that you wish to walk, then lift up your right foot.Move it slowly and let is slowly touch the ground in front of you. As you lift upyour foot be aware of the sensation of movement of the foot, particularly of thesole of the foot as it moves and touches the ground. Then lift up your left foot,move it and touch the ground ahead of your. Then again with your right foot - liftup, move, and touch - slowly and gently. Not too slowly and of course not tooquickly. Walk straight to the end of the room, or wherever your are walking thenturn around slowly and come back.You can walk around your room or in your hose, wherever you choose to practicewalking meditation. It is better not to wear shoes during walking meditation,unless you are doing it outside.After walking meditation you should sit down and continue to meditate. If yourmind wanders or too many thoughts arise you should try to follow your breath. Youcan also count your breath as it comes in and goes out of the nostrils. Count eachbreath in from one up to ten and then again count from ten down to one. Repeatthis counting five to seven times. Now stop counting the breath and watch it. Seeif your mind still wanders or not. If your mind no longer wanders keepconcentrating on the point of contact of the breath with your nostrils.If your mind continues to wander after counting your breath, if doubts, fears ordelusions arise such that you feel that you cannot meditate or concentrate thenyou should stop sitting. If your mind constantly wanders while you are sitting itis not one pointedness meditation. Instead study and read Dharma books, especiallyLam Rim books on impermanence, death, dying and the value of a precious humanrebirth. This will help stop a wandering mind. You should also read biographiesand accounts of great yogis, meditators, Bodhisattvas, and Lamas such as Milarepa.It is very important to have complete and proper instructions before one startsany type of meditation. A lack of such instruction is regarded to be one of thehindrances of meditation . Without instruction from qualified and experiencedteachers it is difficult to progress in ones own meditation. It is like being ablind man walking though the city streets without a guide. Such people do not knowwhere they are going. They can spend hours walking in the wrong direction or evenin a circle, ending in the same place from which they started. Such persons cannotfind their way. Meditation without proper instruction has also been compared to aone-armed man trying to climb a mountain.For this reason Lama Tsong Khapa said that every practitioner must study the threepitika's - the Sutrapitika, the Abidharmapitika, and the Vinayapitika - in orderto practice Bodhicitta [method], Sunyata [wisdom], and Vinaya [discipline].When you practice Dharma it is very important to meditate in the rightenvironment. There are many conditions necessary for samadhi [one pointedconcentration], and also for meditation in general. In the Sutras it says that youshould choose the best place to meditate. If you can find a calm quiet place in aforest, stay there and meditate. If that is not possible stay at home and select acomparatively calm and quiet room or corner and be satisfied with it. If youcannot find a quiet room or corner you should practice or sit wherever you stay.Maybe your room or place is not always noisy or busy and at certain times it isquieter or more peaceful than at others. So whenever there is comparative calm and

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