Sunday, July 1st, 2018 – Meditation simplified: lesson 3-sitting posture


Prince Siddhharta sat unmoving beneath the Bodhi tree for 49 days before he became greatly awakened. He was able to do so because he sat upright in full lotus posture and his mind was focused on finding his true self; without being distracted by any random thought, such as the thought of eating or answering the call of nature because his body system is somewhat like a bear in hibernation though the mind is fully awake.

When we put our left foot on top of the inner right thigh, this posture is called half-lotus. When we also pull the right foot and place it on the inner left thigh, half lotus then becomes full lotus posture. In this position, it is easy to be single minded though beginners would have to overcome the physical aches. If it is not possible to sit either in full or half lotus, then sit crossed legged while slowly progressing to half lotus and then full lotus posture over time.

Because the flavor of Chan comes during long sits, it will be good to practice to sit in full lotus or at least in half lotus even while watching television or while reading. How fast we make progress depends upon our determination, patience and perseverance to constantly practice.

It is preferred that we sit on a level surface. If we do sit on the ground, it will be advisable to protect our body against the moisture coming from the ground with a cushion or carpet. It is recommended that the legs be covered with a blanket to protect the legs from coldness and dampness in the air.

When sitting, the body is upright-without leaning to the front, back left or right -in a natural position. To avoid the upper part of the body from slouching, bring the two shoulder blades together and then relax to a natural position. Adjust the head so that the neck is in line with the spine.

Now notice that the legs form a triangular base with the body perpendicular to it. Isn’t this a stable position?

Meditation simplified – lesson 4 Sitting posture

What about the two hands? Put the hands naturally down in front; pulling towards your body with the back of the right hand resting on top of the palms of the left hand.

The tongue should be curled upwards with the tip of the tongue resting on the top of the mouth just like when we say the alphabet ‘L’. When the saliva gathers at the base of the tongue you may swallow it. The mouth should be closed as we do not want saliva to trickle down.

What about the eyes? The eyes should be half closed focusing on the tip of the nose. Alternatively, the eyes can be closed but there is higher risk of falling asleep when the eyes are closed.

Breathe normally through the nostrils. When sitting meditation begins, the breathing will be noticeably coarse but over time the breath will become subtle until you don’t notice it. Do not breathe through the mouth.

What about the ears? Don’t follow external sounds; listen within. The idea of meditation is to be focused and not be distracted by environment such as the sound of a truck passing by or people talking nearby. Listen within.

During meditation, the practitioner should remain still and avoid fidgeting, scratching, swaying, twitching, blinking, grinding of teeth; any movements even on the subtlest level. These physical movements are signs of scatteredness when the practitioner should be focused in the work of meditating.


Sunday, June 24, 2018 – Meditation simplified: Lesson 2 – The Mindset


The practice of Chan is more than just sitting. The mindset of the practitioner will determine how far he will progress.

The practitioner of Chan meditation must have a mindset that there is the innate nature within him that is truly wholesome – also called the Buddhanature which presently is obstructed because of the multitudinous false and random thoughts and attachments to phenomena.

Accordingly he believes in himself and his own ability to uncover this innate wisdom. His trust in the practice of Chan meditation is unwavering. He is totally dedicated to his practice at all times without pause. Nothing else is more important than to understand the mind and see the self nature.

He is patiently unmoving because he is willing to undergo difficulties which he sees are no different than pleasure because ‘pain and pleasure’ comes from the same source – the false discriminating conscious mind. He is able to ‘endure what others cannot endure’ because he is convinced that this very existence is dreamlike and illusory.


Sunday, June 17, 2018 – Lesson 1 – An Overview

Meditation Simplified


It is important that when we sit in meditation the body and mind is both unmoving. In the midst of this stillness, through constant practice, there is higher possibility to uncover our inherent wisdom.

Sitting in meditation can be described as ‘bitter sweet’. It is bitter in the initial stage due to the physical and mental discomfort. But through perseverance, the bitterness eventually becomes sweet. The sweetness starts when one experiences ‘light ease’ and progressing to being absorbed in comfort and bliss while sitting. It is this comfort and ease that many practitioners have been side tracked from progressing further.

The practitioner must be fully aware that ultimately the purpose of meditation is to realize our inherent wisdom.

Why is it important to realize our inherent wisdom? It is because when we do uncover our inherent wisdom, we will dwell in eternal tranquility. We will think, speak and behave wisely at all times because we have effectively become united with our true self nature.


What Exactly Is Vipassana Meditation?

Why focusing is important

The first question we might have is why use any focus of attention at all? We are, after all, trying to develop awareness. Why not just sit down and be aware of whatever happens to be present in the mind? In fact, there are meditations of that nature. They are sometimes referred to as unstructured meditation and they are quite difficult.

The mind is tricky. Thought is an inherently complicated procedure. By that we mean that we become trapped, wrapped up, and stuck in the thought chain. One thought leads to another which leads to another, and another, and another, and so on. Fifteen minutes later we suddenly wake up and realize we spent that whole time stuck in a daydream or sexual fantasy or a set of worries about our bills or whatever.

We use breath as our focus. It serves as that vital reference point from which the mind wanders and is drawn back. Distraction cannot be seen as distraction unless there is some central focus to be distracted from. That is the frame of reference against which we can view the incessant changes and interruptions that go on all the time as a part of normal thinking.

Taming Wild Elephants

Ancient Pali texts liken meditation to the process of taming a wild elephant. The procedure in those days was to tie a newly captured animal to a post with a good strong rope. When you do this, the elephant is not happy. He screams and tramples, and pulls against the rope for days. Finally it sinks through his skull that he can’t get away, and he settles down.

At this point you can begin to feed him and to handle him with some measure of safety. Eventually you can dispense with the rope and post altogether, and train your elephant for various tasks. Now you have got a tamed elephant that can be put to useful work.

In this analogy the wild elephant is your wildly active mind, the rope is mindfulness, and the post is our object of meditation, our breathing. The tamed elephant who emerges from this process is a well-trained, concentrated mind that can then be used for the exceedingly tough job of piercing the layers of illusion that obscure reality. Meditation tames the mind.

Why Breathing?

The next question we need to address is: Why choose breathing as the primary object of meditation? Why not something a bit more interesting? Answers to this are numerous. A useful object of meditation should be one that promotes mindfulness. It should be portable, easily available, and cheap. It should also be something that will not embroil us in those states of mind from which we are trying to free ourselves, such as greed, anger, and delusion.

Breathing satisfies all these criteria and more. It is common to every human being. We all carry it with us wherever we go. It is always there, constantly available, never ceasing from birth till death, and it costs nothing.

Breathing is a non-conceptual process, a thing that can be experienced directly without a need for thought. Furthermore, it is a very living process, an aspect of life that is in constant change. The breath moves in cycles-inhalation, exhalation, breathing in, and breathing out. Thus, it is a miniature model of life itself.

Breath is a phenomenon common to all living things. A true experiential understanding of the process moves you closer to other living beings. It shows you your inherent connectedness with all of life. Finally, breathing is a present-time process.

The first step in using the breath as an object of meditation is to find it. What you are looking for is the physical, tactile sensation of the air that passes in and out of the nostrils. This is usually just inside the tip of the nose. But the exact spot varies from one person to another, depending on the shape of the nose.

To find your own point, take a quick deep breath and notice and point just inside the nose or on the upper tip where you have the most distinct sensation of passing air. Now exhale and notice the sensation at the same point. It is from this point that you will follow the whole passage of breath.

Not Always Easy

When you first begin this procedure, expect to face some difficulties. Your mind will wander off constantly darting, around like a bumble bee and zooming off on wild tangents. Try not to worry. The monkey mind phenomenon is well known. It is something that every advanced meditator has had to deal with. They have pushed through it one way or another, and so can you.

When it happens, just note the fact that you have been thinking, day-dreaming, worrying, or whatever. Gently, but firmly, without getting upset or judging yourself for straying, simply return to the simple physical sensation of the breath. Then do it again the next time, and again, and again, and again.

Essentially, Vipassana meditation is a process of retraining the mind. The state you are aiming for is one in which you are totally aware of everything that is happening in your own perceptual universe, exactly the way it happens, exactly when it is happening; total, unbroken awareness in present time.

This is an incredibly high goal, and not to be reached all at once. It takes practice, so we start small. We start by becoming totalIy aware of one small unit of time, just one single inhalation. And, when you succeed, you are on your way to a whole new experience of life.