In the first of a series of weekly meditation classes beginning on Wednesday 10 September, Ven. Phuoc Tan gave an introduction to counting meditation, in which one counts the breath. Starting at one and ending at ten, practitioners count ‘one’ while breathing in, ‘two’ while breathing out, and then repeat the process.
This might sound simple, but as Ven. Phuoc Tan says, even the simplest meditation techniques can be effective. The idea is to discover what works best for you and stick with it (perhaps even until you reach enlightenment!). And with 84,000 techniques to choose from, it’s probably safe to say that what works for you may not work for somebody else.
Ven. Thich Phuoc Tan stressed the importance of not viewing meditation as a way to relax. He said that everybody has different ways to relax, but that certain relaxation techniques could come at a high cost, such as gambling. It is best to avoid such relaxation techniques, and not view these relaxation techniques as solutions to our problems. Rather, people should view relaxation techniques as painkillers, and only use them when necessary, if at all.
According to Ven. Phuoc Tan, the principle of meditation is to be fully focused on what we are doing in the present moment, to make the best possible action that we can. All practitioners should also have a purpose to their meditation to guide their practice.
We should also set aside a certain time to practice every day, just as we do for eating and sleeping. As Ven. Phuoc Tan noted, if we fail to meditate one day, our bodies should tell us, just as our stomachs grumble when we are hungry.
In general, and particularly for beginners, it is not necessary to meditate for lengthy periods of time. Rather, it is more important to concentrate on the quality of our meditation. We should aim to make every breath significant, instead of aiming for a particular time mark.
Apart from the first Wednesday of each month, classes will be held every Wednesday from 8:30pm in the main shrine. The first 30-40 minutes will cater specifically for beginners. Following this will be a dharma talk. Experienced practitioners can stay for an extra 30-40 minutes following this if they wish.
Last Updated on Saturday, 17 January 2009 16:52