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Meditation

This Page is still in work, there is more to add to the end of the page

Tibetan Buddhist meditation is a way (Yoga) or path to enlightenment. As with all paths you must go step by step in order to reach the end. If you try to run at the beginning you run out of steam or get lost. You need a guide to help you to know the way. If your guide is not a good one it is like the blind leading the blind in the desert.

There are two forms to meditation shamatha (perfect mental quiescence or calm abiding) and vipashyana (perfect insight).

We first learn how to calm our mind and then we learn how to perform vipashyana.

Preliminaries

First we need a proper place, for meditation practice, a room that is quiet and out of the stream of traffic where you can put a shrine. The room should be clean and uncluttered. This helps stop distractions. We must keep to a strict schedule and hold the sessions at the same place, at their proper times, focusing on the same object. If we are nervous, frightened, restless, preoccupied with busywork or have many things to do or think about, we will never be able to become focused. We should practice at the same time every day three or more times a day is very good and help to keep a good discipline. Once or twice a day will work. The amount of time you spend in meditation, during each practice, depends on your ability and frame of mind. Five to fifteen minutes a session is a good place to start.

The Sevenfold Position of Vairchana

Legs cross in the full Vajra position (full lotus position). The benefits of this position is that it redirect the downward-clearing wind. This is one of the five winds of the body, it is involved in all processes of evacuating things from the body out the lower orifices. This position is also associated with one of the five kleshas (poisons): greed, hatred, ignorance, jealousy and pride. Of these five the downward-clearing wind is most connected with the klesha of jealousy. Placing the legs in the vajra position inhibiting the klesha of jealousy. If you cannot sit in a full lotus position it is fine to sit in a half lotus position or on a chair

Hands are resting in the lap in the pose of total absorption, with palms up, the right hand on top of the left and the thumbs touching each other to form a triangle, the left hand should be four fingers-widths below the navel. This hand position redirects the force of the wind which is associated with the water element. By inhibiting its movement, by redirecting it to the central channel, the klesha of anger in inhibited.

The spine is straight. It is very important to sit with your back straight and still not swaying or bent forward or

backwards or to one side. You should visualize it as a stack of coins one on top of the other, all the way up the spine such that it would fall over if it leaned one way or the other.

Shoulders should be held back a bit opening up the chest. This is said to be like a soaring bird with its wings stretched back, but don't hold them to far back, just a little. This causes the wind associated with the earth element to enter the central channel thereby inhibiting the klesha of delusion.

The chin is held slightly downward and the tongue is held up towards the palate near the base of the upper front teeth. The teeth are held slightly open so air can pass between the upper and lower teeth, so don't clench the jaw. All of this influences the wind associated with the fire element, causing it to enter the central channel and inhibit the klesha of desire.

Eyes should be generally directed at a spot four finger-widths in front of the tip of the nose and slightly downward. Gently, softly focus at that spot about an arm's length in front of your nose. The eyes should not be wide open, just gently look in that direction. This influences the wind associated with the space element, causing it to enter the central channel and inhibit the klesha of pride.

This position of the body is very important because the channels within the body will follow the external disposition of the body. The way the body is place will set the channels; and the winds, of course, flow inside the channels, so if they are properly set, the winds will flow properly. Mind follows the winds. To focus the mind properly, the winds must also be functioning properly.

The placement of the eyes can serve to help with your disposition during meditation if drowsy or sleepy focus the eyes upward slightly. If on the other hand you have a busy mind focus your eyes slightly downward.

If the posture is tilted to the right, first a sense of clarity arises, then hatred occurs in the mind-stream, and there is the danger of being harmed by grahas and parthivas and the like.
If the posture is tilted to the left, first there is a sense of joy, and then strong attachment occurs, and grahar, nagas, and matrkas, and so forth inflict harm.
If you lean forward, at first nonconceptuality arises effortlessly , but afterwards it turns into delusion, and ksamapatis, and soon inflict. harm.
If the posture leans backwards, at first there effortlessly arises a sense of vacuity, then such afflictions as pride occurs, and thoughts of the previous harmful spirits arises.
In particular, attention cannot be sustained, conceptualization proliferates, the body becomes blush and thin, and there occur problems of the vital fluids seeping out.

Nine Round Breathing

This practice is to open the wind channels. It consists of nine breathing rounds; inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling though the left nostril three times. Then switching and inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through right nostril three times and finally inhaling and exhaling thought both nostrils together three times. The exhalation of the first of the breaths for each set should be hard and long and drawn out starting softly and getting harder then tapering off at the end. The second exhalation should be hard but shorter in duration still tapering at start and end. The third is gentle and drawn out natural, without force. Use the diaphragm to force out the air.

You should start in a meditation posture. Place your thumb of both hands at the base of your third finger on both hands, extend your index fingers and fold your other fingers over your thumbs. Keeping your index fingers in line with your arm. Place your right arm so that your forearm is parallel to your stomach, as if it was in a sling. Rest your left elbow on the close fist of your right arm, keeping both index fingers extended. Place the index finger of your left hand at the base of your left nostril, closing off the passage, inhale slowly and deeply through your right nostril. Now move your finger from the base of your left nostril to the base of your right nostril, then exhale as described above. Repeat this two more times. Breathing in through the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril.

 

Then change your arms position place your left arm so that your forearm is parallel to your stomach, as if it was in a sling. Rest your right elbow on the close fist of your left arm, keeping both index fingers extended. Place the index finger of your right hand at the base of your left nostril, closing off the passage, inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril. Now move your finger from the base of your right nostril to the base of your left nostril, then exhale as described above. Repeat this two more times. Breathing in through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril.

Now put your right hand on your right knee and your left hand on your left knee with your hands still clinched, inhale slowly and deeply through both nostril, then exhale through both nostrils as described above. Repeat this two more times. Breathing in through the both nostril and exhaling through the both nostril.

While inhaling think of receiving blessing from all the buddhas of the three times and ten directions in the form of light filling your body. When exhaling think of expelling all the darkness of all of the defilements accumulated over many life times from beginning less time

This is good to do one or two sequences first thing in the morning before you say any prayers or meditation. It also helps calm the mind before meditation

 

Shamatha

Shamatha or calm abiding is a meditation practice that trains the mind. There are two types of shamatha practice with an object and without an object. The untrained mind allows all things to manifest, especially the five klesha. Through shamatha we learn to control our thoughts and our emotions.

When meditating with an object the object of meditation should be simple in design, shape and of a moderate color. The object is to be a focal point for the eyes. It is not for examination or memorization. If the object is to elaborate or have a design it is easy to get caught up in the object and forget that we are trying to settle our min not amuse it. We should also not get caught up in thinking such as; I have this object that is a stone, or this is the object I am mediating on. These problems are called taking the mind out to the object and taking the object inwardly, both to be avoided. The purpose of shamatha is to cut off the kalpana. Kalpana is any type of thought, any type of concept This mental quiescence meditation is just simple awareness, focused and calm, on an object. As thoughts and concepts arise, they should be abandoned, cut off never taken up or followed. The point of this type of meditation is to train the mind to hold one object single-pointedly and undistractedly, to gain the power of one-pointed concentration which excludes all the kalpana. It doesn't matter so much what the object is, so long as you avoid an object that will distract your mind by its very nature.

One method of shamatha with out an object is. While sitting in the mediation posture we concentrate on our breathing. While breathing through our nose we imagining seeing our breath as we inhale and exhale at a normal rate. This one pointed meditation allows us to clear our mind with out having to concentrate on any elaborate object. As thought arise in our mind we do not try to stop them, as this leads to prolonging the disruption, but instead acknowledge the arising of the thought and let it pass. Then continue the one pointed concentration on our breathing. At first it is surprising how many thoughts pass through our mind. In fact many people believe that when they first start mediating it causes more arisings in the mind. This is not the case that is most people do not realized how cluttered there mind can get with everyday things; did I leave that light on, is the cat in or out, why do I keep thing of that song, what will I have for dinner, I need to stop thinking of these things and concentrate on my breathing, this meditation is not working!

At first it is better for most people to do very short sessions of five to ten minute, as often as you can, during the day. Rather that to try to do three or four twenty to thirty minutes sessions that are filled with distractions.

After you feel that you can hold your one pointed concentration. You can meditate on Dharma subjects; the four thoughts that turn the mind towards Dharmas take one of the five klesha, the twelve links of interdependence.

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