Meditation

In terms of the Buddhist teachings of social ethics there are three steps to be followed to enhance quality of life. They are Liberality (Dana), Morality (Sila) and Meditation (Bavana), the three wholesome actions.

Liberality (Dana) represents sharing with the community by practicing generosity, all cultural, ritual and wholesome practices plus offerings of requisites and fulfillment of obligations.

Morality (Sila) ensures the conduct of bodily and verbally performed deeds in conformity with the needs of human decency, good character, piousness, Buddhist ethics, monastic rules, etc. For this purpose, there are prescribed steps for training moral rules such as Five moral rules, Eight moral rules, “Poyaday” moral rules, Ten domestic moral rules for lay persons, Ten moral rules for trainee monks, Four rules for purification and Moral rules of accomplishment of training (Higher ordination) (Upasampada?) for the monks. The accomplishment of morality by acceptance of the rule, or by practice of rule is common to both parties, lay and monastic.

The actions of a living being, both bodily and verbally are controlled totally by the consciousness. The psychological scrutiny of one’s all-powerful consciousness can only be performed by meditation. That is the method to observe the consciousness with the same consciousness (Self-observation). To observe, recognize, develop, strengthen, and win the consciousness, the only psychologically accepted method is mediation. The creator of, and the manager of all individual lives, communal lives, and the comprehensive net work of actions is consciousness. The method of establishing the human feelings, morality, Buddhism, the character of a monk, and cultivating uprightness, victory, and emancipation in the consciousness is known as meditation.  

Of the three wholesome acts, Liberality, Morality and Meditation, the most important is Meditation. It is possible to introduce the ten wholesome deeds, the ten wholesome skills, the ten perfections leading to Buddha-hood, the ten rules for just governance, and thirty-seven requisites for enlightenment, as requisites of wholesome merits for the development of meditation.  

By practicing Liberality/Generosity alone, it is not possible to develop the high moralities of good conduct and meditation. It helps to suppress greed temporarily and reduce its power. That is all that you can achieve even by giving alms with the much-praised eight requisites (Atapirikara) included in the offerings or giving the much praised “Katina Chivara”. It is doubtful whether the merits accumulated by these sense sphere wholesome deeds are as powerful as praised, other than to suppress the greed temporarily. However, these wholesome deeds help to receive requisites to maintain the life cycle and gain birth in good plains of birth.

By practicing morality, both generosity and morality develops. But it will not develop any skills of Meditation. These with the help of performance of rituals and rights will lay conducive conditions and surroundings for meditation. But by practicing meditation, all three wholesome practices develop simultaneously. It is only by meditation that defilements and fetters based on greed can be suppressed momentarily or suppressed for a given period of time, or even eradicated permanently. However, for preliminary development of a conducive mental and physical state needed for meditation and to get prepared methodically for meditation, practicing generosity, Buddhist rights and rituals, and the observance of both commission and abstinence rules such as five moral rules, poya-day moral rules, eight moral rules, ten moral rules, trainee rules (samanera sila) , rules observed by the accomplished trainee {known as Higher Ordination} (Upasampada Sila) are essential.

Division of Meditational Practice.

Meditation is divided into two disciplines as “Samatha” – Tranquility and “Vipassana” – Insight.

“Samatha” – Tranquility

The form of mediation that suppresses temporarily (Tadanga) or for a given period of time (Vishkambana), the five “Nivarana” – Hindrances and maintain tranquility is known as Samatha –Tranquility Meditation. As it helps to develop one-pointedness resulting in the effectiveness of consciousness it is also known as One-pointedness Meditation and also as Consciousness Meditation. The methods prescribed by the Buddha are forty in number. Of them Buddha Contemplation, Damma contemplation, Sangha contemplation, Tranquility contemplation, are restricted to the Buddhist teachings. The rest can be practiced in other forms of meditation. Tranquility meditation helps to suppress temporarily or for a specific period of time the fetters, to prevent the active state or arising of defilements and develop the one-pointedness to absorption (jhana) level and also develop the ability to perform miracles thereby gaining birth in Brhamma Spheres. However these methods do not lead to the Path to Enlightenment, the emancipation.

“Vipassana” – Insight Meditation

Vipassana Meditation is the method developed to observe and realize the true state of the world as impermanent, unsatisfactory and Soulless. Vipassana is a word from Pali language. In Sanskrit language it is “Vidassana”  in Sinhala language it is Vidasun. This method of meditation is also known as Wisdom Meditation, Tilakkhana (3 characteristics of existence) Mediation, Four contemplation Meditation. It is quite appropriate to call it by the names such as Satisammpajanna Meditation, Trisiksha – Tristate Meditation, Ariya (noble) Meditation, Satta Visuddhi (Seven purification) Meditation, Universal Defilement Eradication Meditation. In Maha Satipattana Sutta Insight Contemplation Objects or twenty-one methods have been prescribed by the Buddha. These Insight Meditation techniques are not thought nor have they been referred to in any other religion, philosophy, school of thought or process. It is found only in the Eight Fold Path in Buddhism and is the only path to emancipation. Therefore even for a yogi  practicing “samatha” – tranquility meditation and who has gained special powers, it will not be possible to enter the Eight Fold Path without practicing Vipassana – Insight Meditation.

There is only one method of meditation to enter the path to Nibbana, for both the yogi who has gained special powers in samatha meditation or to an ordinary person who has not gained any powers in samatha. That is Vipassana Mediation. The path for all beings is the same. However, a yogi who has gained special powers in tranquility mediation will find it very easy to use such skills and develop Insight Meditation. Nevertheless, the effort needed to develop skills such as Jhana and miracle performing ability is tremendous. Though the yogi perfecting Insight Meditation finds it difficult to attain the bliss of Nibbana, he still can do it with less effort and shorter time by not attempting to first develop Jhana. Developing Jhanic skills take such effort and long time, it may not be worth.

However, both above parties have to master the skills of Rupa-jhana (Material Sphere Absorption) in order to gain the mental status of path and fruit consciousness. The tranquility mediator gets hung on Jhana. Therefore, he can recapture jhana consciousness. He can also develop “Abhinna” – Direct Knowledge. Insight meditator experiences jhana consciousness just before getting the path consciousness in the form of javana consciousness, and simultaneously observes the three characteristics of existence (Tilakkhana) of them, hence will not get attached to them. Therefore, the Noble Persons (Ariya Puggala) do not have the ability to enter the jhana consciousness nor can they perform miracles as performed by persons who have developed direct knowledge absorption (Abhinna).

The learned reader who is in doubt about the above statements is advised to read very carefully the “Cullagopala Sutta” and the reply given to “Subadda Pribrajaka” before the moment of death – “parinibbhana”, by the Buddha. Practice of tranquility and insight meditation offer a large number of benefits in life.

” It is essential to bath and to clean the body, wash cloths. Cleaning the consciousness which is subject to impurities very easily and more frequently needs to be cleaned and disinfected. The physiologically accepted procedure for this purpose is meditation.

” A polluted consciousness is incapable of performing anything free of complications and well. When the consciousness is polluted and disturbed the work performed with such a consciousness is also polluted and disturbed. Therefore to read a book, to start a day happily, perform an act correctly, to associate the persons you meet and work in a friendly manner, to have your meals happily, to sleep well and sound, which are some of the daily activities that need to be performed well, undisturbed, and calmly, meditation gives a great support.

” Unwholesome actions, anti social behavior, pollute not only the consciousness it tarnishes the person’s character. Such a person with a polluted consciousness and bad character will suffer the broken relationships with his parents, children, husband or wife, teachers, students, employers, employees, etc. Meditation helps to develop pleasantness and respectfulness in a person and to create a socially accepted person.

” When the consciousness is polluted and disturbed the tranquility disappears. Restlessness and disappointment take root.  When consciousness is cleansed by mediation, contentedness, comfort, happiness, energy and pleasantness arises.

” By meditation, the capacity to absorb and retain subjects studied improves. For students who are preparing for examinations, Postgraduate qualifications, meditation offers a great help. Mediation also help candidates who face interviews, competitions, conferences, discussions, meetings, to face them successfully and express their points of views well.

” It is a fact, accepted world over, that for track and field sports, gymnastics, karate, judo and martial arts, mental fitness is needed just as much as the physical fitness. Similarly, educated sections of the community accept that sharpness of the mind is needed by Air Pilots and persons who have to take decisions on technical matters. For such development of the mind, some form of meditation has been used during their training and will have to practice them throughout.

” Meditation helps to protect human beings from mental and physical ill health. It has found by medical authorities that 80% of the reasons causing physical ill health are generated mentally. The main cause for asthma, wheeze, heart deceases is mental illness. Therefore, some health ailments arising due to physical and mental pressures can be prevented and cured through practice of meditation.

” Life is a process with which you seek solutions to endless problems that keep growing like the new leaves of a tree. Due to this reason some day when we die, we have to leave behind a long list of unattended problems, challenges, and duties. The cause for all these is the consciousness. The extent to which the consciousness is polluted, weakened and disorganized, the resulting problems are complicated and the challenges will turn to disaster. By training the consciousness with a form of meditation, it becomes more pure, stronger and is capable of facing successfully any problem or challenge.

” A person accustomed to hardships of life, problems, dissatisfactions, defeat, hurt and fighting will find difficult to live without them. Such people will remember a problem over and over again, imagine that a similar problem will arise in the future, even create a problem or take another’s problem on to himself and suffer. However, to a person who has developed his mind through meditation, such psychological suffering similar to that experienced in hell will not arise. Entertaining sense desire will only activate such unwholesome desires and result is restlessness, longing, and dissatisfaction.

The first step towards this end is to restrict personal requisites meaningfully. The guidance for this restriction and limitation is given by moral rules. As the second step the consciousness must be cleansed by establishing one-pointedness. The last step will be to eradicate defilements (Kilasa), hindrances (Nivarana), clinging (Upadana) fetters (Sanyojana) by practicing Wisdom Meditation and cleanse the consciousness to a higher level as recommended and obtain the emancipation the Ultimate Bliss.

Methods of Meditation.

A few simple methods of meditation which can be practiced in your day-to-day life and on Poya days.

There are a few preparations to be followed before embarking on meditation. First is the cleanliness of the body and the places where the meditation is to be practiced. Bathe or wash the exposed parts of the body. Dress in a clean plain simple dress. The yogi must refrain from indulging in wrongful activities to the best of ability. Both Buddhists and non Buddhists will benefit by making a wow to refrain from the five wrong doings. It helps to cleanse both physical and mental activity.

Next step is to practice some form of spiritual offerings such as good behavior, paying homage to the Triple Gem, offering flowers and lamps. By these pre-meditation practices, the yogi develops faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and the ground conditions for meditation. Offering of flowers and lamps will help to clear the place of meditation and to induce pleasant refreshing order to the surrounding area. In the case of a non- Buddhist the relevant spiritual prayers, hymns and offerings to the Gods can be used for this purpose.

The recommended seat for meditation is the one where you sit on the ground cross-legged, resting on the back, folding both legs to place the feet below the thighs and keeping the spine and head erect. The most important factor here is to pick a posture in which the yogi can stay comfortably for a considerable period.

The simplicity of the meditation, the simplicity of wording and reducing words to be chanted will help to tranquilize the consciousness and develop the one-pointedness. The aforesaid preliminary preparations will greatly prevent the straying of the consciousness, remembering lists of matters attend to or to be attended, attraction to external objects such as sounds.

Until such time the yogi trains the body and mind, meditation can be practiced seated, standing, looking at the ground, walking, reclining or changing the postures suitably. If due to health reasons the yogi is unable to sit in the cross-legged posture, sitting on a bench or a straight back seat, a step of a fleet of steps, a low wall with suitable security, a heap of earth, which help to place the feet without discomfort is not restricted. Meditation must not be a mental or physical punishment. Getting disturbed by the inflow of external objects other than the object on which the yogi is trying to concentrate on, is normal at the beginning. This should not disturb the yogi. Each time an external object is remembered, the yogi must recognize the fact that he has remembered an object and think, “Remembered” “Remembered” twice and get back to the original object fast. This is not a rule to practice only in Insight Meditation. It applies to Tranquility meditation equally and is a psychological technique used to prevent the mind from straying. It is important not to react to sounds, heat, cold, irritations in the body, pain, numbness, and continue meditation keeping your body still. Such disturbances will gradually fade off. Dropping of the head, tilting of the body must be corrected immediately. If unbearable pain, numbness, sleepiness, laziness, arises the posture can be changed for a short time.

The age group of the younger generation who need to be groomed to take over the motherland, our inherited culture and the 2600 year old religious background, falls within the ages of two to sixteen years. They belong to both the lay and ordained communities. It is important to inculcate in them the concept and train them in the cultural practices. They must be trained at home, temples, in the village community, and in institutions that they are associated with. The shortsighted elders, who have taken on lease all avenues of cultural and religious activities and are blocking the wholesome development, should now open their eyes and reform themselves for the benefit of the society.

Buddha Contemplation Meditation.

This is a meditation essential to develop faith and the Buddhist attitudes in the lay yogis and monks attitudes in the ordained society. This also is a meditation that can be easily practiced by monks, lay persons, males, females, children, adolescents, young, old, educated, uneducated, healthy, sick, travelling, anybody at home, or engaged in work. The next meditation being introduced is Loving-kindness, which is similar. Buddha Contemplation and Loving Kindness are two meditations that can be practiced even without the close observation by a teacher. The solo practice of these meditations can be carried out without getting misled or facing any harmful results. The word “Anussati” means remembering or observing constantly. These are two simple meditations that should be practiced by both monks and lay disciples at every possible free moment.

The contact with a pile of garbage or any spoilt thing producing a rotten smell will spoil your hands and pollute the environment in which it has contact with. The bad smell will start to spread and flies will be attracted. Similarly, if a person starts to talk another’s wrong doings, shortcomings, crookedness, telltale, his consciousness, his words, also the consciousness and the attitudes of the person who is drawn to the conversation and the surrounding environment gets polluted. The consciousness of the connected people will be full of hatred and will start to generate all unwholesome thoughts.  The facial expressions and the complexion of the body will turn unpleasant.  The kitchen, alms hall, house where “Pirith” is chanted, lodging house, work place, funeral house, school and office rest room becomes centers producing gossip. Talking ill of others amount to practicing the four verbal wrongs. By that, you break the five precepts. Is breaking the forth precept permissible for a Monk or a lay disciple? A monk speaking lies knowingly has no refuge in the ordination. “Lying has no forgiveness from God” says Holly Curran. Both monks and lay devotees must understand these anti-social unwholesome deeds and refrain from talking lies, carrying tales, slandering and gossip that leads to disrupting friendship and promotes animosity. People must appreciate the good of others, look for the good of others, and get accustomed to speaking well of others. We often see parents who do not know to protect their mouth getting discarded by their children and ending up in homes for the aged. When a person refrains from unwholesome activity and indulge in wholesome activity such as talking good of others, their generosity, skills, morality, human qualities, and gratitude, it becomes obvious that his consciousness, speech, behavioral patterns, face, body, the surroundings improve and even the persons who associate him become enriched with loving kindness and compassion resulting in him accumulating  wholesome merits.  

Lord Buddha who practiced loving kindness, compassion, generosity, morality, concentration wisdom etc., for four enumerable lacks of “kalpa” (sarasnkaiya kalpa lakshayak) developing the strengthening the qualities , step by step, reached the state of “Sammasambuddha” which is greater than being a celestial being, a Brahma or a Paccheka Buddha. He also unfolded the path to the supreme bliss or the “Nibbana” to Buddhists, Non Buddhists, Humans, Devas, Brahmas and to all living beings in the universe. He explained the virtues of a Buddha in nine heaps (Skandha).

Buddha contemplation is the meditation that shows you the way to refrain from accumulating unwholesome merits due to wasting time discussing the shortcomings of others, and switch to discussing the good virtues of others, and thereby cleansing the consciousness.  By displaying the “Buddha Rays” to be seen by the helpless only son of the miserly Barron Adinnapubbaka, Buddha helped the young boy on the deathbed to develop faith in the Buddha and thereby be reborn in the Celestial world. By crossing the path of Catramanavaka the young boy who was carrying 1000 gold coins to pay his tuition fees, but was destined to be killed by robbers on his way, the Buddha made him aware of the virtues of the Triple Gem, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Due to the merits of singing praise of the Triple Gem, Catramanavaka gained rebirth in the Celestial world. If people who heard the virtues of the Buddha for such short time of few minutes could get such high merits, imagine the benefits that can be derived from practicing Buddha Contemplation Meditation having observed wholesome moral disciplines.

The support given by the Buddha Contemplation Meditation to develop faith, to get a closer view of the Buddha, to be bestowed with the happiness of knowing the Buddha, to make the acceptance of the Buddhist teaching and Monastic order more colourful, is countless. Contemplation of the Nine Virtues is also a means of to gain spiritual security. It is a fountain of blessings. Helping others to gain faith in the virtues of the Triple Gem is a virtue of “Kalyana Mitta” a good friend. The unshakable faith in the Triple Gem is sufficient to prevent birth in woeful plains and to gain birth in celestial plains. Therefore, Buddha Contemplation should be a meditation practiced by both the Monks and Lay disciples on a daily basis.

(1) First Step in Buddha Contemplation Meditation.

Age 4 to 11 years

(To be practiced by Nursery and Primary school children)

a.  Sit in front of a Buddha Statue. Observe the four parts of the statue freely and comfortably. The four parts are the face, the body, the two hands, and the feet.

The teacher/instructor should announce these parts of the body for the students to hear 7 to 8 times. Then chant the same with the children 7 to 8 times. Then get the students to stop chanting and observe the pats of the statue as a meditation thinking of them silently.

This should be done only in the seated posture.

b. A simple poem can be thought to be recited by them to establish the faith in them.

“May I be a beautiful flower suitable to be offered to the Buddha”

“I take refuge in the Buddha with my body”

“I take refuge in the Buddha with my words”

“I take refuge in the Buddha with my mind”

“I take refuge in the Buddha All the time”

The meditation can be practiced easily sitting, standing, (with your eyes open looking at the floor.) and walking in a row.

c. The stanza “Itipiso bagawa …..” which has all the nine virtues of the Buddha incorporated therein can be recited and used for meditation, but not in all postures.

(2) Second Step in Buddha Contemplation Meditation.

For children of Ages 12 to 16 years

a. Divide the Buddha statue in to six parts. Face, Neck, Chest, Lapp, Two hands, and the feet. ( This step will be practiced only in the seated posture.)

b. Recite a simple poem.

“The Lord who gives goodness, brightness to us “

“The one who acts as a doctor for sorrow”

“The one who clears the darkness in the mind”

“I pay my homage to the Lord Buddha”

(This could be practiced in all four postures.)

c. Think of the nine virtues of the Buddha taking each one separately. Concentrate on them.  

Itipi so Bhagava Araham Sammasambuddho Vijjacaranasampanno Sugato Lokavdu Anuttaro Purisa damma sarati Sattha devamanussanam Buddho Bhagava’ti

” Itipi so Bhagava Araham – Accomplished, worthy of offering, does not commit evil even in secrecy, has shun all defilements (kilesa) and has attained the fruits of Arahantship

” Sammasambuddho – One who has discovered all things rightly by himself as clear as a ‘nelli'(myrobalan) fruit on one’s palm.

” Vijjacarana Sammpanno – One who is endowed with eight kinds of clear vision ‘vijja’ and fifteen kinds of (carana) qualities.

” Sugato – One whose manner of going is good – one who has gone to an excellent place (Nibbana) – gone rightly and enunciates (the Dhamma) rightly.

” Lokavidu – One who has understood and expounded to those who are ignorant, the true nature of the three worlds (sankhara, sattva and avakasa) of formations of beings and locations.

” Auttaro Purisa damma sarati – One who is unrivalled in the world in wisdom and conduct to train and discipline any one in the three worlds.

” Devamanussanam Satta – The teacher (caravan leader) of all beings in the world (including devas, yakkhas and men) to free them from suffering.

” Buddho – He who is enlightened with the knowledge that belongs to the fruit of liberation.

” Bhagava’ti – One who possesses the fortune to destroy all passions, associates the four sublime states, crosses the samsara and preaches the Doctrine.

(This is a step that is suitable for sickly persons, bedridden due to accidents, nearing death but with clear consciousness. It is also suitable for practice in all forms of postures)

For young ones over 16 and the elders.

(A) Divide the Buddha Statue into ten parts.

The Crown, Forehead, Face, Neck, Shoulders, Two hands, Chest, Lapp, Knees, Feet.

(This can be practiced seated or reclining)

(B) Buddha Contemplation – The nine virtues of the Buddha

(C) Contemplate on one stance relating to the nine virtues.

“The Lord Buddha is worthy of all venerations and offerings” – (say this three times)

“Therefore he is known as Arhan?”

Repeat this over and over again without allowing other thoughts to interrupt the trend of thoughts on the Buddha. This can be practiced for any desirable length of time (The step A & C can be practiced in any of the postures).  

Loving kindness Meditation.

Loving kindness Meditation (Non-hatred) is a wholesome root. It is also a sublime state. Is a perfection (Metta Patrami). It is an object for Tranquility Meditation.

Though the Loving Kindness Meditation introduced by the Buddha Dhamma and Hindu religion are represented by the Non-violence (Ahimsa) I the Jaina religion, and the Love in Christianity and Islam religions, except Buddhism and Jainism others have limited the love to human beings. The Buddha’s advice was to spread to the whole universe ad its beings the unlimited loving kindness that is equivalent to the love of mother for her only child. That loving kindness is to be practiced in all four postures. A person practicing loving kindness to venomous reptiles, dangerous wild animals, any other animals or insects having venom will not be attacked by such animals. The virtues of practicing Loving Kindness are eleven in number. (Of them 10 will be experienced I the present life.) A monk who practices loving kindness meditation even for a few minutes a day is capable of receiving the alms offered by the disciples without being in debt to the giver of the requirements. With loving kindness the yogi can win hate and evil, and win over people who envy and hate the yogi. Getting the relations, neighbors, sinful people, politicians, and such persons angry with you is more dangerous now than I the past. From the daily news reports it is evident that such action is an invitation to violent death to you and your family. Therefore it is to vice to restrict your association to the few good wholesome people and avoid the majority of the bad unwholesome community. The advice given by the Buddha to avoid association with the unwholesome people does not mean cutting them off. But keep them at a distance, not allowing them to influence you in your activity. However associate them to prevent envy and hatred from them. To do this Lovigkindness Meditation becomes an asset.

When you practice loving kindness meditation, the danger of harassment from venomous reptiles, wild animals, sinful people, relations, neighbors the loving kindness, and politicians is minimized and could lead a life without fear of physical harm and death. Keeping them at a distance ad participating in their funeral, weddings, wholesome ceremonies, sickness, sad moments ad providing them with any form of security needed by them will build a reasonable good faith in you among them. One should attempt to regain the faith from the parties who have turned against you in a very intelligent and tactful means. It must be kept I mind that the security of your family members is greater in value than the wealth, position, power, and any other thing. Loving kindness meditation is a technique that can be practiced by humans, Devas, Brahmas, in ay posture, while engaged in any activity, (bathing, washing, sweeping, having meals, work place, travelling etc.)

Step 1:  For children of age group 4 to 11.

A. May I be free of ill health,

free of sorrow,

free of fear,

and be comfortable

May all of us be free of ill health,

free of sorrow,

free of fear,

and be comfortable

……….

Say this three times and repeat the words “be comforted” for any length of time as desired.

B. May I be free of ill health,

free of sorrow,

free of fear,

and be comfortable

May our mother be free of ill health,

May our mother be free of sorrow,

May our mother be free of fear,

May our mother be comfortable

May our Father be free of ill health,

May our Father be free of sorrow,

May our Father be free of fear,

May our Father be and be comfortable

May all members of our family be free of ill health,

May all members of our family be free of sorrow,

May all members of our family be free of fear,

May all members of our family be and be comfortable

May all in my school be free of ill health,

May all in my school be free of sorrow,

May all in my school be free of fear,

May all in my school be comfortable

……….

Say this three times ad repeat the words “be comforted” for any length of time as desired.

C. May I be free of ill health,

May I be free of sorrow,

May I be free of fear,

May I be and be comfortable

Just as me, may All of us be free of ill health,

Just as me, may all of us be free of sorrow,

Just as me, may all of us be free of fear,

Just as me, may all of us be comfortable

Say this three times ad repeat the words “be comforted” for any length of time as d

Step II : for children over 12 years , youngster, and elders.

A. May I be free of ill health,

May I be free of sorrow,

May I be free of fear,

May I be and be comfortable

Just as me, may All of us be free of ill health,

Just as me, may all of us be free of sorrow,

Just as me, may all of us be free of fear,

Just as me, may all of us be comfortable

B. May I be free of ill health,

May I be free of sorrow,

May I be free of fear,

May I be and be comfortable

May All of my family members be free of ill health,

May All of my family members be free of sorrow,

May All of my family members be free of fear,

May All of my family members be comfortable

May All in my school/ workplace be free of ill health,

May All in my school/ workplace be free of sorrow,

May All in my school/ workplace be free of fear,

May All in my school/ workplace be comfortable

May All in the village be free of ill health,

May All in the village be free of sorrow,

May All in the village be free of fear,

May All in the village be comfortable

May All in the country be free of ill health,

May All in the country be free of sorrow,

May All in the country be free of fear,

May All in the country be comfortable

May All in the world be free of ill health,

May All in the world be free of sorrow,

May All in the world be free of fear,

May All in the world be comfortable

C. May be comforted        May I be comforted by refraining from hatred

May I be comforted by refraining from ill will

May I be comforted by refraining from dissatisfaction

May I be comforted by refraining from restlessness

May I be comforted by establishing compassion and friendship

Repeat the words “be comforted (Suvapthveva)” for any length of time as desired at all times when travelling and during work.

Walking Meditation

Step I :

For age groups between 4 and 11 years.

Walk slowly, being conscious of the left and right foot I motion alternately.

You may say “left” – “right”.

Step II

Age groups 12 to 16 years

(a) Walking while being conscious of the steps “left” ad “right”.

(b) When lifting the foot think “lifting”. When placing the foot on the ground think “Keeping” and continue walking consciously.  

Step III

Age groups 16 plus young men and women and Elders.

(a) Walking while being conscious of the steps “left” ad “right”.

(b) When lifting the foot think “lifting”. When placing the foot on the ground think “Keeping” and continue walking consciously.

(c) Without saying the words think “lifting” and think “Keeping” and continue walking consciously.

(When walking normally think of “left and right”, while concentrating on the movement. In the walking mediation, “lifting keeping” can be incorporated to the movement and meditated on all individual movements.)

Body Contemplation Meditation.

This is similar to the meditation we discussed before under the subject of Buddha Contemplation. There, the yogi was advised to observe the Buddha Statue from head to toe. Here the yogi is advised to observe his own body from head to toe. It is suitable for all age groups.

Step I : Ages 4 to 11.

Divide the body into 4 parts (Face, body, two hands, two feet)

Step II : Ages 12 to 16 (Junior Children)

Divide the body into 6 parts (Face, neck, chest, lap, two hands, two feet)

Step III : Ages over16 and adults.

Divide the body into 10 parts (Crown, forehead, neck, shoulders, two hands, chest, lap, knees, two feet)

Third step can be practiced sitting, standing, looking at the floor, reclining.

Tranquility Meditation.

This is a meditation wherein the breath inhaled and exhaled are taken as the object, and developed to get one-pointedness. As the point at which the breath touches the body has to be recognized and observed this teaching is not as simple as it may be assumed to be. As the object is very fine, observation has to be well guided by the effective concentration, wisdom and helped by “sansaric” practice. (It has been observed that people, who have practiced meditation in their previous births, find developing the one-pointedness leading to absorption easy. Inborn skills are skills brought from the past birth.)

The contact points of the breath are three. They are nostrils, upper lip, and abdomen. There are no restrictions by the Buddha to chose the most suitable place yourself. The observation of the breath using the nose has been universally accepted by all mediators both Buddhist and Non-Buddhist. In order to make the object – breath more distinct using force in breathing and concentrating on the breath that goes in and out without observing the place of contact is not helpful. This can have adverse reactions on your health too.

That is the reason why Tranquility Meditation is not suitable for students under 16 years of age. What we hope to introduce to you here are two simple methods of meditation through which the observation of the breath can be practiced using the nose. In this method, the point of contact of the breath is not important. What you need to observe is the ingoing breath and the outgoing breath. This is very easy for persons over 16 years of age.

(A) Step 1.

Observe the breathing taking place effortlessly, counting the breath one to ten. Start counting again from one to ten. You may chant the numbers 1 to 10. Continue this exercise keeping the spine erect and seated in the recommended posture. (Cross legged.)

(B) Step 2.

If you have mastered the first step this step can be started easily.

Stop counting. Instead, observe the breath that comes in as “Inhaling” and the breath that goes out as “Exhaling”. You can chant the words.

Meditate continuing to observe the breath without a break.

(C) Step 3.

(D) A person who has practiced steps 1 and 2 will not have difficulty in starting this step.

(E) Now you stop saying the words “Inhaling” and “Exhaling” and observe the berewath going in and coming out keeping perfect attention, moment to moment. If during this time the breath starts to lose its grossness and become faint, and even fade completely, care must be taken to prevent the consciousness from floating, straying free of an object. In such a situation you can start body contemplation  and practice it for five to ten minutes and get back to the tranquility meditation. Then you will observe the breath very well.

If a major discomfort, pain, sleepiness, restlessness preventing you from maintaining the one-pointedness arises it must be arrested soon. To start with the posture should be changed . Stand, look down at the floor, start body contemplation, dividing the body into 10 parts and observing them or stat walking meditation. Having practiced the new meditation for a few minutes, you can return to the tranquility meditation, seated as before.

Death Contemplation, which can be practiced when visiting a funeral house.

(This is not suitable for children under 16 years of age)

This meditation can be practiced successfully when the information of the death reaches you, when visiting the funeral house, when addressing the funeral gathering. It can be practiced in all postures. The inducements offered by this are, to correct some of your wrong habits, to add good procedures to your daily routine, to observe the natural course of life where death is a part of it. These are of high value.

 “X” has died.

I too will someday face death similarly.

 All my family members will someday face death similarly.

 All in my village will someday face death similarly.

 All in my country will someday face death similarly.

 All in the world will someday face death similarly.

 “Life is indefinite, Death is definite.”    ….. can be practiced for any length of time.

When meditation is thought in an institution such as a school, temple, office, the Buddha Contemplation meditation, Loving kindness meditation, Body contemplation meditation, and Walking meditation, could be used easily. These could be trained under a suitable time allocation for the deferent forms of meditation such as Body contemplation, Loving Kindness Meditation and made easy by changing postures.

The Buddha Contemplation meditation, Loving kindness meditation can be trained as follows.

1. Allocation of time for school children.

a. Primary and Junior students of age groups 4 to 16.

Meditation for 15 minutes.

Five minutes seated, five minutes standing, five minutes, again seated, keeping the eyes open and looking down at the floor.

b. Meditation for 30 minutes.

Five minutes seated, five minutes standing, fifteen minutes walking (in a hall or an open ground lined one after the other), five minutes seated.

2. Young girls and boys of ages above 16

a. Meditation for 15 minutes.

Five minutes seated, five minutes standing, five minutes seated.

b. Meditation for 30 minutes

Ten minutes seated, ten minutes walking, ten minutes seated.

c. Meditation for one hour (for experienced elders)

Twenty minutes seated, Twenty minutes walking, twenty minutes seated.

3. In addition to the former meditation techniques, Tranquility Meditation can be introduced to advance level students and adults. Here too the change of postures could be allowed to ease the practiced.

Restricting movements strictly for novice mediators by some teachers tend to five feeling that mediation is a punishment, and a very difficult task needing practice of innumerable eons of time thereby giving the impression that it is not an easy task. This is because the teacher has no knowledge of social psychology. The first impressions formed in young minds will leave an influence on his or her whole life. Therefore when introducing the Buddhist moral ethics, wholesome life patterns, moral rules, meditation etc., we must be thoughtful to present them in the most attractive, meaningful, simple, easy manners using easy ways and with suitable practical applications.

Every Buddhist and every Monk must take leave from his daily routine for at least one month every year and practice meditation in a retreat. As for the Monks, they must develop a determination to practice meditation at least one complete rainy season (Vass period). This practice will provide the opportunity for the layman to give-up his home for one month and the monk to give-up his temple for one month. The dependants, pupils, children and others will get a chance to handle their lives without the elders. That will provide the opportunity for the young ones to manage life assuming responsibilities.

However, the parties interested in the practicing systematic training in meditation must find a retreat with suitable surroundings, facilities, space for such practice and above all a teacher with experience and knowledge to lead you in the correct path.

Postponing meditation until you have finalized all duties relating to your children, grand children and finished your daily responsibilities such as building houses, finishing the problems of devotees of the temple and finally when all are solved is a foolish way to think. It is similar to waiting for the waves to stop for you to have a bath the sea. The noble experiments are not to be kept the next birth or the next Buddha period. That will nullify the opportunity offered by the Gautama Buddha’s period now in full effect. Therefore, the Buddhists must practice the teachings of the Nobel Eightfold Path for at least three to four weeks. The way to ensure the good life in this birth and in future lives is to follow this path and practice the teachings.