Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Seven-Point Meditation Posture 坐勢

  The Seven-Point Meditation Posture 坐勢

Based on material from Kathleen McDonald, How to Meditate, Wisdom Publications, 1984.

Point 1: Legs 雙腿

If possible, sit with your legs crossed in the vajra, or full lotus, position. In this position, each foot is placed, sole upward, on the thigh of the opposite leg. This position is difficult to achieve, but one can train the body to do so over time. This position gives the best support to the body and mind. It is not, however, essential.

An alternative position is the half-lotus position where one foot is on the floor under the opposite leg and the other foot is on top of the opposite thigh. A third alternative is simply sitting in a cross-legged position with both feet resting on the floor under the opposite thighs.

Sitting on a firm cushion the raises the buttocks higher than the knees can help you greatly to keep your spine straight. It can also help you to sit for longer periods of time without having your feet and legs fall asleep or get uncomfortable pins-and-needles.

If sitting on a cushion on the floor is not possible, one can use a low meditation bench. It is also perfectly acceptable to meditate while sitting on a chair. The most important thing is to find a suitable position in which you are able to be comfortable.

Point 2: Arms 雙手

Hold your hands loosely in your lap, right hand resting in the palm of your left, palms upward, thumbs lightly touching, forming the shape of a teardrop, or flame. Your hands should be resting about 2–3 inches below the navel. Shoulders and arms should be relaxed. Arms should be slightly akimbo, leaving a bit of space between your arms and your body to allow air to circulate. This helps to prevent sleepiness during meditation.

Point 3: Back 背直

Your back is most important. It should be straight, held relaxed and fully upright, as if the vertebrae were a stack of blocks effortlessly resting in a pile. This helps your energy to flow freely and contributes greatly to the clarity and alertness of your mind in meditation. The position of your legs can contribute greatly to how easy it is to maintain a straight back; often the higher is the cushion under your buttocks and the lower are your knees, the easier it is to keep a straight back. You should experiment to see what works for you.
4: Point Eyes 眼

In the beginning, it is often easier to concentrate with your eyes fully closed.

This is totally fine. As you gain some experience with meditation, it is recommended that you learn to leave your eyes slightly open to admit a little light and that you direct your gaze downwards, not really focusing on anything in particular. Closing the eyes completely may create a tendency toward sluggishness, sleep, or daydreaming,

all of which are obstacles to clear meditations.

Point 5: Jaw and Mouth 下吧

Your jaw and mouth should be relaxed with your teeth slightly apart, not clenched, lips lightly touching.

Point 6: Tongue 捲舌

Your tongue should rest lightly on your upper palate, with the tip lightly touching the back of the upper teeth. This is to help the flow of saliva and the flow of energy through the chakras.

Point 7: Head 頭正

Your head should be just slightly inclined forward so that your gaze is directed naturally toward the floor in front of you. If your chin is held too high, you may have problems with mental wandering and distraction. If you drop your head too far forward, this can bring mental dullness or sleepiness.

 

 

Five Precepts 五重戒 and Ten Negative Deeds 十惡業

                 Buddhist strongly emphasize Five Precepts:

 Five precepts: 五

  1. Refrain from killing 殺living creatures
  2. Refrain from stealing偷盜.
  3. Refrain from unchastely邪淫 (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
  4. Refrain from incorrect speech 妄語.
  5. Refrain from taking intoxicants 兇酒 / 毒.

十惡業 Ten Negative Deeds:

  1. 殺生killing: Taking life of any living beings.
  2. 偷盜stealing: Taking anything which ia giving, or permitted.
  3. 邪淫Sexual Misconduct: Unlawful, unmoral, over indulging sexuality.
  4. 說謊False speech: Untrue speech, misleading speech.
  5. 惡口Harmful Speech: hurtful speech, hatred speech, confrontational speech. negative motivational speech.
  6. 绮語Charter Speech: Meaningless speech, mindless speech, frivolous speech.
  7. 兩舌Divisive Speech: Speeches that cause confrontational between parties.
  8. 貪餒Greed: Strong / endless desires of material objects, and name, fame, praise, gain etc.
  9. 瞋恨Hatred:  Strong emotional disturbances; most harmful to the mind.
  10. 嫉妒Jealousy: It usually directly connected to hatred, due ignorance of Dharma.

( Note): To create positive deeds, simply refrain from the ten negative deeds. 盡止惡業即是善業

The 12-fold chain of Causality 十二因緣

The 12-fold chain of Causality 十二因緣

This is a brief explanation of Cause and Effect. It has two sets of causes: previous and current, and two sets of effects: previous and current, that are dictated by the Karmic-force, generated by oneself. This causes one to become trapped in the cycle of existence, also known as (Samsara).

It is very important to understand how the cause and effect of our Karma works, so we can be aware of how to generate positive causes, and avoid negative ones.

Please take time to study it, until you have a thorough understanding of the information we have gathered for you.

Previous Causes: (1) Ignorance, (2) Formative actions, (3) Consciousness.

Current Effects: (4) Name & Form, (5) The six senses, (6) Touch, (7) Sensation,

                            (8) Thirst, desire, craving

Current Causes: (9) Grasping, laying hold, (10) Becoming, existing

Future Effects: (11) Birth, (12) Aging and Death                        

1.) 無明 ” Ignorance”: of the Four Noble Truths, the Three marks of existence (impermanence, dissatisfaction or suffering, and non-self ), the Five Skandhas, Karma, and The twelve -links, results in a wrong assessment of reality. This narrowness of experience is the primary cause of suffering dissatisfaction, pain, unease, etc.

2.) 行 “Mental Formation”: The impulse accumulations of Karma are characterized by the energetic direction of the first motif, manifesting through body, speech, and mind as structuring forces of our being. This relationship forms the basis of our character and our personal karmic patterning.

3.) 識 “Consciousness” represents the partially structured consciousness that results from the Karma-generating actions, the shaping of that energetic activity into a less flexible and more stagnant form. It is pictured as having a two-fold function: the cognition of objects that arise in our field of awareness and a structured stream that is being continually fed from the reservoir of energetic activity. The interplay between action and consciousness is seen as accounting for all the experiential data associated with the psychological notion of the unconscious, including memory, dreams, and the eruption of emotive complexes.

4.) 名色 “Name and form” has a quick grasping tendency, moving from sensory objects to objects of imagination rapidly. This energy may therefore crystallize and take shape into mental functions, called Nāma名, or it may be represented as material forms, called Rūpa色. As a collective idea, the名色Nāma-rūpa motif models the reciprocal relationship of bodily and mental functioning. 名Nāma is the naming activity of the discursive mind. 色Rūpa develops an internal representation of external objects, without which mind and body cannot exist. Nāma 名refers to three components of mental functioning. There is the sensation or tone-awareness of a mental situation. There is also an ideational or labeling function. And finally there is the component of dispositional orientation, the ‘mood-energy’ we bring to a situation. Rūpa 色 refers to the four dynamic structuring operations of solidity, cohesion, heat, and motility. They are represented by the elemental symbols of earth, water, fire, and air. The operation of these elemental modes goes towards making up what we experience as our physical world, including our body. It embraces the static aspects of embodiment such as cellular, tissue, and organ structures, as well as the dynamic aspect of body metabolism–electro-physiological pathways, membrane transport, etc.

5.) 六入”six sense gates” or “six sense bases” The close relationship of bodily and mental functioning is differentiated into the six-fold bases of awareness, which contribute to the arising of all sensory experiences that make up our interpretation of reality. The six-fold bases are divided into an internal grouping with corollary external supports. The internal grouping refers to the integration of five sensory capabilities (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body) and a sixth capability, termed non-sensuous or mental, which refers to the capability of all acts of memory, imagination, visualization, etc. These internal bases are not to be confused with the corresponding physical organs … They are simply loci of sensitivity structured such that there arises the experience of seeing, hearing, etc. The six external bases, which always work in conjunction with the corresponding internal base, refer to the six types of possible object awareness. These bases are the means by which the differentiated aspects, which are fleeting stabilizations in the field character of our awareness, stand out long enough to be appropriated as this-or-that specific object. The external and internal bases should be pictured as working together in pairs. In any given moment there is the two-fold working of a particular modality of awareness (eye-sensitivity and color-forms, ear-sensitivity and sounds, etc.).

6.) 觸 “Contact” refers to the relationship or rapport between the internal and external. Impressions of tone arise in conjunction with the specific modality of awareness that is operating.

7.) 受 “Sensation” There are six sense-bases (āyatana) types of feeling tone awareness that arise from contact. The feeling tone or sensation of each of the six āyatana is uniquely different. For example, the feeling tone and felt experience of sensations in the body are distinct from the feeling tones generated from experiencing sight or sound. Each modality is experientially separable on the basis of (a) the place of sensitivity (internal base), (b) the corresponding structure of its field (external base), (c) the manner of articulation or relatedness between (a) and (b), termed rapport, and (d) the resulting distinctive tone.

8.) 愛 “Craving”: desire, thirst, or attachment: Following the arising of tone-awareness is an unconditioned or habitually patterned experience of craving or attachment.

9.) 取 “Attachment”: If the object of one’s desires comes to fruition, then these craving desires may manifest as the quality of attachment. This condition of fulfilled desires and attachment is always fleeting and momentary, as new cravings arise once old cravings are satisfied. Attachment may take many forms, for example, emotional attachment to persons, to life, material comfort, routines, pleasant or unpleasant sensations, beliefs, thoughts, judgments, etc. We may not have attachment to things like wealth or success in society, but we are typically very strongly attached to our feelings and constructed identity of the self. One may become fixated on a mental “story” or representation of reality, or a mental version of an object or event, preferring and craving for an unrealized internal version of external reality. Once this fixation shapes behavior in a way that internal desires are satiated, then the craving of may be said to have shifted to the attachment.

10.) 有 “Becoming”: Refers to the new formation of karmic tendencies. This creation of new habits and karmic tendencies will come to fruition through future experiences. They therefore, differ in temporal nature. These include tendencies from past situational patterning (lives) which act on the present situation.

11.) 生 Birth: refers to the process of karmic tendencies coming to fruition, through the birth of new patterning. That which was desired and conditioned now comes to be. In a psycho-biological model, the birth or emergence of a newborn being, appearing, according to the specific history of patterning, in one of six ‘lifestyles’ (six levels of lower existence) . These lifestyles indicate the general character of experience. (They are symbolized by the terms gods, titans, hungry ghosts, animals, denizens of hell, and human. These embrace all the general ways of being-in-a-situation.)

12.) 老死 Aging, decay and death: Once a new situation or a new being has emerged, the last of the twelve motifs, points to the inevitability of decay and death. When the cessation of the continuity of experience occurs, we speak of death. It is the total breakdown and dissolution of experience and experiencer. The process of disintegration, restructuring, and entropic scattering yields a nexus of vibratory murkiness which is the condition of “cycle of rebirth”, the first motif. Thus the entire structure of patterning feeds back on itself, and is often pictured as a circle of twelve sections, called the Wheel of Life.

 

Seven Factors of Enlightenment 七覺支

When you wish to be free from spiritual suffering, and to achieve enlightenment, you must fellow these steps :

  1. Investigation : Investigate and seek out the pure Dharma and a qualified teacher.
  2. Mindfulness : Set out to learn and practice the Dharma, committed and focused. Be mindful of meditation and wisdom practice.
  3. Energy : Engage with whole hearted effort; never becoming lazy or quitting.
  4. Joy : With all the above, you will gradually attain joyful peace, you will experience less and less suffering of stress, unhappiness, frustrations in life.
  5. Tranquility: You will attain a peaceful mind, being relaxed with both your body and mind at all the times.
  6. Concentration: Concentration of both body and mind. Your thoughts are no longer scattered, and are focused and present at all times on the Path. At this stage, you will be able to control and purified your body, speech, and mind.
  7. Equanimity : You achieve calm abiding. The mind is well trained, and immoveable by the surrounding phenomena. It is fully aware of all phenomena without being lustful or averse towards them.