Monday, May 23, 2016

Kung Fu, Shaolin Temple, Meditation (video)

Ajahn Brahm (BSWA); Discovery; Pat Macpherson, Sheldon S., CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Buddhist monks, Shaolin Monastery, Hunan Province, China (Ana Paola Pineda/

The Basic Method of Meditation
Ajahn Brahm ( edited by Wisdom Quarterly
PART 1: Sustained attention on the present moment

"The goal of this meditation is the beautiful silence, stillness, and clarity of mind."

The Basic Method of Meditation (PDF)
Meditation is the way to achieve letting go.

In meditation one lets go of the complex world outside in order to reach the serene world inside. In all types of mysticism and in many traditions, this is known as the path to the pure and powerful mind. The experience of this pure mind, released from the world, is very wonderful and blissful.
Often with meditation there will be some hard work at the beginning, but be willing to bear that hard work knowing that it will lead to the experience of some very beautiful and meaningful states.

They will be well worth the effort! It is a law of nature that without effort one does not make progress. Whether one is a layperson or a monastic, without effort one gets nowhere in meditation or in anything.
But effort alone is not sufficient. The effort needs to be skillful. This means directing energy just at the right places and sustaining it there until its task is completed. Skillful effort neither hinders nor disturbs us; instead, it produces the beautiful peace of deep meditation.
In order to know where our effort should be directed, we must have a clear understanding of the goal of meditation. The goal of this meditation is the beautiful silence, stillness, and clarity of mind. If we can understand that goal then the place to apply our effort and the means to achieve the goal becomes very clear.
The effort is directed to letting go, to developing a mind that inclines to abandoning. One of the many simple but profound statements of the Buddha is that "a meditator whose mind inclines to abandoning, easily achieves samadhi [collectedness, composure, coherence, concentration]."

Such a meditator gains these states of inner bliss almost automatically [almost effortlessly]. What the Buddha is saying is that the major cause for attaining deep meditation and reaching these powerful states is the willingness to abandon, to let go, and to renounce [nonclinging, inner letting go].
During meditation, we do not develop a mind that accumulates and holds on to things. Instead, we develop a mind that is willing to let go of things, to let go of burdens. Outside of meditation we have to carry the burden of our many duties like many heavy suitcases, but within the period of meditation baggage is unnecessary.

So in meditation we see how much baggage we can unload. Think of these things as burdens, as heavy weights pressing on us. Then we have the right attitude for letting go of these things, abandoning them freely without looking back. This effort, this attitude, this movement of mind that inclines toward giving things up is what leads to deep meditation.

Even during the beginning stages of this meditation, we see if we can generate the energy of renunciation, the willingness to give things away and, little by little, letting go will occur. As we give things away in mind we feel much lighter, unburdened, and free. In the way of meditation, this abandoning of things occurs in stages, step by step.
We may go through these initial stages quickly if we wish, but we must be very careful if we do. Sometimes when we pass through the initial steps too quickly, we find the preparatory work has not been completed. It is like trying to build a house on a very weak and rushed foundation. The structure goes up very quickly, but it comes down very quickly as well!

So it is wise to spend a lot of time on the foundation and the first stories as well, building the groundwork well, strong and firm. Then when we proceed to the higher storey, the blissful states of meditation are stable and firm.
How I do it
A Tribute to Venerable Ajahn Brahmavamso
In the way I teach meditation, I like to begin at the very simple stage of giving up the baggage of past and future.

Sometimes we may think that this is such an easy thing to do that it is too basic. However, if we give it our full effort, not running ahead to the higher stages of meditation until we have properly reached the first goal of sustained attention on the present moment, then we find later on that we have established a very strong foundation on which to build the higher stages.
Abandoning the past means not even thinking about work, family, commitments, responsibilities, or history, the good or bad times we had as a child... We abandon all past experiences by showing no interest in them at all. We become someone who has no history during the time we meditate. 

We do not think about where we are from, where we were born, who our parents were, or what our upbringing was like. All of that history is renounced in meditation. In this way, everyone here on retreat becomes equal, just meditators.
It becomes unimportant how many years we have been meditating, whether we are an old hand or a beginner. If we abandon all that history then we are equal and free. We are freeing ourselves of concerns, perceptions, and thoughts that limit us and stop us from developing the peace born of letting go.

So we finally let go of every part of our history, even the history of what has happened to us so far on this retreat, even the memory of what happened to us just a moment ago! In this way, we carry no burden from the past into the present.

Whatever has just happened, we are no longer interested in it, so we let it go. We do not allow the past to reverberate in our mind. More

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