Friday, November 30, 2012

Meditation in Daily Activities

Meditation and wisdom are equally crucial in our practice. How should we apply them in our daily activities then?

Meditation is not confined to just sitting meditation. Although we do need to start with sitting meditation initially, when we reach an advanced stage of practice, we can do our meditation in our daily activities,  during walking, resting, sitting and lying down, with our our mind remaining in a state of calmness at all times. Our mind will not be perturbed by what others say about us, how others look at us or anything that happens around us - our mind will continue to remain in a state of calmness.

Venerable Jinkong related his personal experience on his studying under Master Zhangjia in Taiwan for a period of three years in the past. He said, Master Zhanjiang had never slackened in his practice – he would just stare at a distance three feet away and recite the mantra quietly in his heart. When his students came to him, he did not even look at them but continued staring at the space three feet away from him. He seldom gave teachings and he would not provide immediate answers to questions raised by his students. He would let his students wait in idle. Why? He was actually waiting for his students to calm their minds. For sentient beings are mentally active all the times and fail to listen to the party talking to them. Most of the times, we are preoccupied with our own thoughts about what we want to say next and therefore fail to listen to the other party talking to us.

Master Zhangjia was indeed a wise man. He would not say anything but just sat there in silence. He would just remain in his state of meditation for half an hour or even one to two hours. You would feel very uneasy then but when you have the least idea of what you ought to do, he would grasp this moment and start talking at the point when your mind is free of thoughts. He needed only to say one sentence and it got right into your Alaya Consciousness. That was his method of telling you the salient points! There were many who became awaken by his teachings through such method,through a simple but yet very effective teaching.

Master Zhangjia was one of the most important reincarnated masters of Tibetan Buddhism during his time. However, he remained rigorous in his training, shutting his six sensual organs and reciting mantra quietly in his heart at all times. Although he did not choose to go into a retreat, he had truly attained the state of meditation in his daily activities – this is the highest level of meditation. On the contrary, if you have gone into a retreat deep in a mountain for ten to twenty years and yet still succumb to the worldly temptations, your retreat is a waste of time! Maybe we don’t have the right conditions to go into a retreat deep in the mountain, but we could meditate where we are, right here. –As the saying goes - “An accompished practitioer does his retreat in a city.” We could remain in a state of calmness while doing our  daily works, talking and walking. Regardless of what activities we get ourselves involved in, our mind can remain in a state of calmness. Such is the highest level of meditation!

When you have attained a higher state of meditation, your innate wisdom will naturally reveal itself. Regardless of what you do, your innate wisdom will naturally manifest in you. Even teachings in a certain sutras (doctrines) that you have never come across in the past will somehow automatically appear in your mind. I don’t have the opportunity of a monastic training like the Khenpos (Buddhist scholars). However, when I was asked a certain question, the answers would automatically appear right within my mind. My verifications against the sutras would later turn out to be correct – that was what Sakyamuni Buddha said too! Wisdom manifests naturally from the state of meditation. So, we should learn to meditate in our daily activities.

Before attaining the state of full enlightenment, the sense of hatred in us can be easily triggered. So, we should learn to treat it with tolerance. However, when you have attained a state free of antagonistic views of good and bad, right and wrong etc., you don’t even need the teaching of tolerance anymore. You will naturally view everyone as a Buddha or Bodhisattva and every place a Pureland. At this stage, you will no longer need to deliberately do any meditation and you don’t need any other forms of training. For whatever you do and say will naturally comply with the teachings of the Buddha – you have attained the state of enlightenment! So, although we do not have the right conditions to go into a retreat deep in the mountain, we can apply the teachings in our daily life. Do meditations in our daily activities – this will be a more effective and speedy path to enlightenment. Do contemplate over this point and internalize the teaching.