Verfasst von: Enrico Kosmus | 9. Mai 2013

Shamatha – a guide to calm abiding

Buddha_BodhibaumSince all arises in the mind, the state of mind is the most important factor. Buddhist meditation contains two parts of meditation – calm abinding (shamatha) and insight (vipashyana).
Generally we recognize meditation as sitting in a cross-legged straight position, eyes closed, hands in the lap. Well, that’s just one possibility but mostly well-known. Let’s take a look on the posture because body and mind are related in some way. So if you like to calm your mind, it could be useful to bring the body in calm position, otherwise you’ll practice fidget meditation. There’s a well-known illustration about this. The body is like a blind horse and the mind is a legless horseman. Thus they are correlate.
If the body is restful, the mind will cool down. Due to the yogic view for the simple reason the inner winds settle down. The point of guided meditation as well as some physical exercises  in the tantric tradition of dharma is to calm the mind, gathering the winds below the navel and get into the shamata state.

Posture

First of all just sit down, cross-legged on a cushion or with loosen legs on a chair doesn’t matter. It’s most important to straighten up the spine, but it should be in a relaxed way, not like stiff stick. Then raise your back of the head a little bit and tuck in your chin slightly. Next your eyes half-closed and your gaze should follow the pathway of your nose. Instead of you can open your eyes widely and gaze indifferently into the space. You can put your hands in the lap or with palms downwards on your knees. So this will be the best position of the body. Let your breath naturally come and go without any idea. You can curl your tongue and rest it against the back of your upper teeth or just leave it naturally.

Tension

If you feel any tension anywhere in your body, bring your mind there. Then relax and let go of the tension when you exhale. All tensions are created by wind. Soon the tension is gone. If not, don’t fix the mind on it but investigate this so-called tension. What’s about it’s size, about the weight, the colour etc.? You will observe the tension shifts and then it will dissolve.
well, to become more relaxed is not the ultimate goal of meditation but it’s the entrance to recognizing the true nature of mind. Of course it  could occur that you’ll have some unpleasant feelings, remember your guru’s kindness and let it go with exhaling.

Practice and motivation

For strengthen your motivation set up an altar with a statue or an image of the Buddha Shakyamuni and offer some fruits and juice (or water), some insence, flowers and light up a candle. If you want to practice more traditionally offer the common outer offerings (2 water bowls for drinking and washing, flowers, insence, light, perfumed water, food and sound). Then take refuge to the Three Juwels (and to the Three Roots as well), enhance the right motivation by developing the enlightent mind to liberate all sentient beings and pray to your guru above the crown of your head. Supplicate to the guru for blessings. Then practice in the right way.
Thereafter visualize your guru descends to the lotus in your heart or let him remain on your shoulder all day long. Afterwards dedicate the merit, in order that all sentient beings will be liberated and reach the highest state of unchangeable happiness.

Exercise

Once you feel comfortable in your body, start to count your breaths up to 10 or if you like to use another focus, you can put the tibetan syllable „A“ in front of you and gaze on it. In the latter case limit your gazing to circa 5 minutes. Anyway, if you recognize your wandering mind, bring it back to the focus of your exercise. Wether or not your counting or gazing, practice in 3 to 7 laps. Then relax and watch your mind. How do you feel? Are you more centered?

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