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BUDDHIST MEDITATION 1) First make yourself completely at ease.

Sit on the floor by arranging your legs in the most comfortable position and make your backbone as straight as an arrow. Place your hands in the meditative equipoise at about 2" below the navel. Place the left hand on the bottom and the right on top with your thumbs touching to form a triangle. Your hands are now in the gesture of meditation. The nerve channel associated with the mind of enlightenment (Bodhi-Chitta) passes through the thumbs. Thus, joining of the two thumbs in this gesture is of auspicious significance for the future development of the mind of enlightenment. Furthermore this placement of the hands has connection with the place inside the body where inner heat in generated.

2) Now bend the neck down slightly. Let the top of the tongue touch the roof of the mouth near the teeth. In some Tibetan practices the eyes are focused on the tip of the nose but for this exercise let the eyes gaze gently downwards. Gaze without straining toward the floor in front of you. Do not open the eyes wide rather let the lids relax. Occasionally they may close of their own accord. Do not worry about this, once your mental equilibrium is steady the eyes will fix naturally into the gaze. Become aware of how your mind is becoming quiet and your breath slowing down.

3) Now you will shift the attention away from the mind and meditate on an object of observation. In Tibetan meditative techniques these can be external or internal. Something with spiritual significance or symbolism can be used in this technique such as AUM symbol or perhaps the face of any GOD. For this exercise we'll imagine a statue of the BUDDHA. Visualise that it is about 4 feet in front of you and at the same height as the eyebrows say about 2 feet high and is radiating light. As well as using your visual imagination, conceive of it as being heavy which will help you to fix the attention further. The heaviness is said to prevent over excitement and the brilliance of the light will prevent laxity. You have two objectives: make the object of observation - clear & steady. 4) Observe your thoughts and impressions. Are the things you see with your eyes bothering you? If they are then close the eyes and observe what you see. If you see a reddish appearance when the eyes are closed then you are too involved in eye consciousness. Try to withdraw the attention from the eye to the mental consciousness. Your attention should be entirely concentrated on the Buddha that you are visualising. 5) The steadiness of your observation of your Buddha will fluctuate depending upon the excitability of your thoughts. To stop this scattering, withdraw the mind even more within so that the intensity of your thinking begins to lower. To help this process it is advised that should briefly think about something somber. These weighty thoughts will slow down the heightened mode of appreciation of the Buddha image you are visualising. This will increase the stability of your mental inner observation. 6) To get the balance right you must also develop clarity. The biggest enemy of this is laxity, which can lead to lethargy and the complete loss of the mental image. This is caused by an over-withdrawal of the mind. To stop this you must raise the mode of appreciation. It is the opposite of what you did in order to get stability of the observation. This time you should think of something that makes you feel joyous or exhilarated such as looking at a beautiful scene from the mountain-tops. This will lift the mind and heighten its mode of appreciation. You must

judge the appropriate times when you need to increase your clarity or stability of your mental picture. Notice how by controlling your somber and joyous thoughts, you affect the mental picture that you are creating. 7) Now inspect the mental image of the Buddha that you have created in your mind's eye. Observe it from all angles - from above, from the corners. Is it both clear and stable? Observing the mental image in this way is called 'introspection' by the Tibetan Buddhists. By learning to do this and control the steadiness and clarity of the mental picture you are at the same time controlling the mind. When you develop mindfulness, you can catch laxity and excitement of thoughts before they arise and even control the arising of these thoughts. The above technique is the classic way a Tibetan monk will sustain meditation using an external object of meditation. In a similar way the meditator can look at the mind itself. The consciousness will become empty like clear water. It is then at the very heart of observation itself.