Before Beginning Meditation Practice

People with intelligence understand that meditation brings extraordinary benefits to the mind. Ancient philosophers and scholars have always had a meditative style: silent, tranquil, profound, and insightful. Even exceptional martial artists are also meditation practitioners. The pinnacle of meditation style is embodied by the Buddha, who attained extraordinary enlightenment through meditation, giving rise to a great religion for humanity.

Many countries have begun experimenting with the application of meditation in schools, hospitals, prisons, offices, factories, and the military. However, alongside the anticipated positive benefits of meditation, there have been numerous negative outcomes from meditation practice. Some individuals have experienced mental disorders, physical ailments, weakened organs, decreased mental capacity, and more. Reports on the adverse effects of meditation have made responsible individuals hesitant to widely implement it, unlike simple physical exercises.

Meditation is challenging because it is related to many other factors such as intelligence, cognitive abilities, ethics, physical health, personal psychology, imprints in the brain from past experiences, breath, breathing techniques, daily life, living conditions, meditation sitting environment, and especially the invisible energy structure of the body. If someone practices meditation without a thorough understanding of these factors, there is a risk of negative consequences in the future.

Meditation is a significant discipline for humanity, not a trivial matter. Meditation is also not a simple nervous system exercise that anyone can teach or practice. Although meditation is said to have originated from Buddhism, it should be regarded as a human asset and should be thoroughly studied to become an experimental science for generations to come.

Throughout the world, many places sincerely teach and promote meditation, which is highly commendable. Buddhist temples teach meditation, as well as non-Buddhist institutions. However, not every place teaches it correctly, and even each place may have a different approach. If meditation were a scientific discipline, there could not be multiple divergent paths, just as mathematics has only one path. Even within Buddhism, there are various methods of meditation known as schools, traditions, and different techniques. This is paradoxical. We cannot delve into the countless thousands of methods to teach and practice meditation as we please. The ultimate truth must be singular, although it is very inclusive.

Meditation has many stages, and different results follow one another, but not everyone has the opportunity to traverse the lofty path of advanced meditation. We trust in the Buddha that he has reached the ultimate result of meditation with the achievement of the Threefold Enlightenment, with highly persuasive sermons and a life of supreme goodness. However, after the Buddha, many individuals stopped midway and stayed there to establish widespread meditation teaching for others. We also understand that the meditation they teach is merely intermediate-level meditation, even though it seems more advanced than those who know nothing about meditation.

Before Beginning Meditation Practice
Before Beginning Meditation Practice

We start practicing meditation as ordinary, mundane individuals, humbly accepting our limitations. If we have the fortune and auspiciousness, we can progress a few steps and achieve some extraordinary results, immediately entering the transcendental stage. Most individuals with intermediate results stop there and teach about Transcendental Meditation. Only those who have deep respect for the Buddha and maintain true devotion to him believe that they need to continue advancing to reach the ultimate stage of Non-Transcendence.

We also discuss those who lack fortune, practice the wrong methods, accumulate excessive energy that disturbs their minds, and eventually experience confusion and mental disorders. We also mention those who lack the virtues of humility and compassion, hastily boasting and being proud. Before long, they lose their balance and suffer from various afflictions. We also talk about those who have not undergone a proper process of mindful living, leaving no imprints in the brain, so their mental faculties do not awaken even after prolonged practice.

Not just knowing how to sit still and meditate, not just knowing how to observe the breath, not just knowing a few arguments about Zen is enough to pursue the path of enlightenment. Zen is a vast and magnificent world, both complex and strict, both peaceful and dangerous, both lofty and simple. Don’t rush to teach Zen, don’t rush to practice Zen if we haven’t fully understood this distant path of ultimate truth. But also, don’t hesitate once you have found the path, once you have found the right teacher. Put all your life’s resources into this sacred journey to have a chance to transcend the ordinary suffering of worldly existence.

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