Meditation practice at emaho center

As we gain understanding of the Buddhist path through activities such as listening to teachings, reading texts, and analyzing information, the most important thing we can do is to integrate what we've learned into our daily lives. An indispensable method to achieve transformation of our mind, one that has been used since even before the time of Buddha, is meditation.

Meditation is the art of living in the present moment. In these sessions, we work on bringing our attention to the present moment for the purpose of habituating our minds to a more positive way of thinking. Wednesday night topics include Bodhicitta, Love and Compassion, Mindfulness, and Wisdom. Deity practices, such as meditation on Medicine Buddha, Green Tara, or other aspects of our own inner wisdom, are also open, with some exceptions. Check the calendar to see which are open to all.

Newcomers are welcome to the sessions. This is an excellent way to start learning one of the basic practices of Buddhism. Either ZaChoeje Rinpoche or a team leader will be available to answer questions.

basic meditation techniques

A summary of Rinpoche's July 17, 2001, talk on Meditation
Transcribed by Maria Morelli and edited by Dianne Hoffman
Reprinted with permission from The Radiant Mind, the newsletter of Drepung Loseling Institute , an affiliate of Emory University and the North American Seat of Drepung Loseling Monastery.

Meditation is like medication -- medication is for physical sickness and meditation is for spiritual sickness, to cure our negative habits. When we start living in the present moment, then it is said that we are in meditation. Meditation is relaxation; and afterwards, meditation should leave you feeling fresh, not tired. So, meditation is not something to do, meditation is an act of being.

There are many different techniques of meditation. Today, we will learn about breathing meditation, visualization meditation, and mantra meditation.

Breathing Meditation

As long as we are alive, we breathe. Breath will not stop until we die. Each and every moment we need to be aware that we are living so we can appreciate life. We are being deeply in meditation when we are having awareness of our living, of our breathing. Just feeling the breath going out and coming in. The average person breathes 21,600 times a day. Our breath binds our physical body with our consciousness. When we die our physical body remains but the consciousness leaves somewhere. Our breath holds our mind and body together. Appreciate that we are breathing right now.

We can use our five senses in breathing meditation by being aware and by being in the present moment and feeling it. Let go of the past and do not wonder about the future. Start living here and use this present moment as much as you can. Then you will not waste your life. Breathing meditation leads us into being in the present moment. You start enjoying your life now. Living in the past or in the future is our habit. We almost forget to live in the present moment. The reality is the present moment, the past is just memory, the future is unknown. You can be in the present moment with your breathing.

Visualization Meditation

You should visualize yourself as a happy person if you want to do this kind of meditation. When you are happy, you feel very light. Your mind is full of brightness. Your face and chin go up, your eyes look up. Your shoulders look a bit more confident. Your heart feels soft, you just feel great inside. If you practice this meditation you are creating some positive habits. It may not be comfortable at first, but with time, it will feel very natural. If you have a problem with depression, this kind of meditation is very helpful! You are not visualizing other things; you are visualizing yourself as a happy person. If you practice this kind of meditation for at least three weeks you are creating a positive habit.

Then there are many Tantric traditional visualization meditations, like Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, or Heruka, or Vajrayogini or Vajrapani. All of these deities are just the role models of happy persons. You and your deity are one, you are not a duality, not separated, and the deity is part of you. So that is the visualization meditation.

Mantra Meditation

The word Mantra (man-tra): "man" means mind, and "tra" means getting near. So we are getting closer to our mind and our mind is getting closer to the higher being.

A mala is used for mantra meditation. Some have 108 beads and some have 111 beads: 108 beads because the Buddhist scriptures have 108 volumes. Some traditional retreat malas have 111 beads. One round is counted as 100. Each 10 needs an extra 1 to make it complete. The mantra for Manjushri is OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHI... The mantra for Green Tara is OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA... The mantra for Avalokiteshvara is OM MANI PEME HUM... This is the love and compassion mantra. You send compassion energy to other sentient beings, visualize that your heart opens and the light in the form of the mantra goes from your heart and touches everybody's heart, and their hearts open. That is mantra meditation.

You can combine all three types of meditation together. You can visualize yourself as a happy person, at the same time you are aware of your breathing and at the same time you can recite a mantra. The benefit of meditation is that you will become more alive and you will become a happy person. We practice meditation so that we benefit other sentient beings. Real meditation will bring us out of this samsaric cycle; it will take us into a real spiritual cycle. Don't forget it.