Building a Meditation Practice - The One Breath Meditation and Extension to Calm
- Hi Folks,
I would like to thank each of you who came to BBnB's Evening dedicated to learning the fundamentals of Meditation. In all my years online, I've never seen such a remarkable evening of cooperation and a communal dedication to helping each other learn.
In this email, I'll also post instructions for a Practice of Meditation. Many people find that this way of enclosing the space of Meditation within the Twinned Intents of Refuge and the Dedication of Merit is a great benefit to their meditative life.
But the Important Thing at this point
Is to Practice Meditation Each Day
A Practice of Meditation
If you can't find 20 or 30 minutes twice a day, try to find 5 minutes twice a day. If you can't find 5 minutes, at least do the One Breath Meditation several times a day.
The One Breath Meditation only takes about a minute to do and it provides ready access to a state that helps the mind by allowing its strength to emerge fresh and new to be applied to your many tasks for the day. Also, even those who do sit for meditation twice a day can benefit from doing the One Breath Meditation several times a day as an additional practice. I often use the One Breath Meditation to shift between tasks or as a gateway into the other meditations and practices that are part of my daily life.
Remember also that the One Breath Meditation can be expanded into a sustained period. The two methods we used last Monday to extend the Peaceful State of the One Breath Meditation were First, to continually cycle the One Breath Meditation Technique (without closing it down when thoughts return), and to use the mantra 'Om Mani Peme Hum.' These techniques are described below.
The benefit of the One Breath Meditation is that it gives immediate access to the peaceful state that is one of the hallmarks of Meditation. As time goes on, we will use the One Breath Meditation as a gateway to different forms of meditation. For now, getting used to the Meditative State with the One Breath Meditation and the Extensions is the best thing to do.
The One Breath Meditation and Extension to Calm Abiding
The Actual Practice for
Many Buddhists enclose their Meditation Practice at the beginning and end with several reminders of the Buddhist Path. Although there are a number of practices that are used, the most essential prior to the actual meditation are Refuge, BodhiMind, Recalling Emptiness, and then at the end of the session, the Dedication of Merit.
These are the same practices with which we start and finish BBnB each Monday Evening so we can use these same practices to enclose our Meditation Sessions. As time goes on, we will study other individual practices that are used in addition to Refuge and the others I'll post below.
For now, the important thing is to practice the actual meditation with or without the Practices at the start and finish of the session. The simplicity of the One Breath Meditation Method is such that it allows easy access to a calmer state and thus, it allows the practice itself to deepen automatically as a natural activity of Mind - of Body, Mind and Speech.
Also, feel free to contact me with any questions or issues. As we saw during our Discussion of Monday evening, there were any number of sensations that people get when they enter the Meditative State. Usually these are interesting and fun states that remind us of the Wondrous Set of Inter-Connections of the Human Body and Mind. If you have any questions about any such sensation, please feel free to ask about it. The BBnB Board is the best place to post such questions as both the questions and answers can be of benefit to the entire community. If you are not registered at BBnB, it only takes a few minutes and is Free.
A Meditation Session
There is also a Nicely-formatted Version with less explanation in Word.rtf Format for MAC and IBM PC in the Files Section of BBnB. You can view or download this file at this Link:
In the text below, I will not give much in the way of elaborations on the instructions. These will be available Online in a few days. You can print this Practice Session and use it during your practice.
A Practice of Meditation.rtf
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A Practice of Meditation
There are Four Parts to the Practice Session:
Part One: Establishing Intent, Bodhi Mind and Emptiness
Part Two: The Meditation
Part Three: Dedication of Merit
Part Four: Taking the Experience back into All Aspects of Life
Establishing Intent, Bodhi Mind and Emptiness
The Refuge Prayer
Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya
I go for refuge to the Buddha, I go for refuge to the Dharma,
I go for refuge to the Sangha.
From my heart, I take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
For the benefit of all sentient beings,
will I generate BodhiMind to Perfect Enlightenment.
(The Lack of any Ultimate Nature of Isolated Self-existence
apart from the Deep Context of InterBeing with all other Persons and Things)
All environments and beings, like dreams, magicians' illusions, and
the moon reflected in water,
are empty of inherent existence.
Though not truly existent, these appearances,
designated by names and thoughts,
appear like bubbles coming forth in water.
May all sentient beings become free of the attachment and aversion
of holding some as close and others as distant, and thus attain Superior Bliss.
May they become free from the ocean of suffering, so difficult to bear, and
may they never become separate from the Bliss of Excellent Liberation.
||I Send Forth This Jeweled Mandala to You Precious Gurus||
The One Breath Meditation and Extension
All Breaths are With the Nose, Not the Mouth
1. Exhale normally
2. As you near the end of the out-breath, Close your eyes and bring your attention to the Tip of your Nose (your nostrils).
3. Now - breathe in at a slow to moderate pace - keeping the attention on the tip of the nose
4. Notice the Space between the Breaths just for a moment before you exhale - and then
Note That Step 4 is Not REALLY Holding the Breath - it's observing the natural pause between InBreath and OutBreath and then, between OutBreath and InBreath.
5. Exhale at a slow- to moderate speed keeping the attention on the Tip of the Nose
Now Breathe Normally until Thoughts Return.
Extension of the One Breath Meditation
In the Extension, after Step 5 Remain in Meditation by either of Two Methods.
Repeat the Breathing Pattern of the One Breath Meditation and then, breathe normally until thoughts recur. Then, repeat the One Breath Meditation again. Continue in this way until the end of the Meditation Session.
An alternative is to Us the Mantra 'Om Mani Peme Hum.' Repeat the Mantra silently to yourself once on the InBreath and once on the OutBreath. When the Mantra disappears sit in silence. Use the Mantra again when thoughts recur.
Dedication of Merit
May whoever sees, hears, talks, or even thinks about this Group or any of the Teachings of the Buddha, Never be born in the lower realms and receive only perfect human rebirths,
May they meet a perfectly qualified spiritual Guide, Quickly achieve the fully enlightened state, and as a Buddha, lead all other beings to enlightenment.
By virtue of invoking and requesting the Tathagata and Bodhisattvas, we dedicate what merit has been achieved by this Group to be combined with that of all Buddhas, Saints, Bodhisattvas and Seers of the three times and the ten directions and thus, to Highest Enlightenment, the Maintenance of the Dharma and to the Benefit of all Sentient Beings.
|| Sarva Mangalam || - May All be Accomplished
|| Idam Guru Ratna Mandalakam Niryatayami ||
||I Send Forth This Jeweled Mandala to You Precious Gurus||
Taking the Experience back into All Aspects of Life
The whole idea of meditation is to develop an entirely different way of dealing with things, where you have no purpose at all. In fact, meditation is dealing with the question of whether or not there is such a thing as purpose. One is not on the way somewhere. Or rather, one is on the way and is also at the destination, at the same time. ~ from Meditation in Action, Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
The Late Ven. Chögyam Trungpa said of Meditation,
Another way to state it is that the purpose of the Contemplative Life is to build skills in order to help others. In this way, our private practice sessions empower our action in the wider world. Buddhism has many Teachings that help us attain and maintain Mindfulness as we engage fully with life. We will work with these Teachings many times in the Future.
Meanwhile, Mindfulness is a good practice in terms of keeping a developing Wisdom Eye on our Body, our Feelings, our Mind and on the many phenomena we encounter.
Later on, we will also take a look at several Teachings which help us grow in Mindfulness. These will include the Thirty-seven Aspects of the Path (one of HHDL's favorite texts) as well as the Eighteen Root Vows and the Forty-six Secondary Vows of the Bodhisattva.
As with all of the Buddha's Teachings, these Methods are meant to be a guide to reduce self-grasping and thus, to develop our Skills as Loving, Caring Human Beings who work enthusiastically for the End of Suffering and the Enlightenment of All Beings.
Meditation, Mindfulness, Loving-kindness, Intent and Dedication of Merit - as well as the Fellowship of Good-hearted Companions - are All the Teachings of the Buddha.
May your journey be gentle.
Namaste and Shanti,