How to practice properly in lay life
- Dear Venerable monks,
I am not sure if this question has been asked before. If so, I apologise.
I get conflicting feelings about my meditation practice. As I am a
student in UK university I have got lots of distractions and sometimes
feel that only a monk can make any real progress. The other problem is
that I dont have time to attend a 14 day retreat, which I have seen
recommended many times, and am unsure if I will get such a chance
later in life. I try to do meditation sometimes, but cant get myself
to stay for more than half an hour, that too quite infrequently. Only
other way I satisfy my appetite for Dhamma is by reading many books,
but not being able to change my character much or defeat my weaknesses
despite all reading makes me sad.
On the other hand the possibility of not being able to practice
Buddhism back at home in India, where my family is not Buddhist, also
Do you have any advice for my meditation practice?
Many thanks and with metta,
- Yes, it is very difficult, perhaps impossible to practise meditation
properly amid worldly distractions. It is possible only if one had a lot
of previous practice, or inherent wisdom and detachment. One should take
any opportunity that comes up to go on retreat. If not for a ten-day
course, then attend a one-day or weekend retreat.
Reading Dhamma books is good, but it is easy to use it as a substitute for
practice. Association with the wise is a great blessing. I know from my
own experience that I am far more likely to practice meditation seriously
if I associate with others who practice meditation, than if I stay alone
or associate with non-meditators.
If you are looking for it, you will get a chance to attend a short retreat
somewhere. There are lots of monasteries in the UK, and several meditation